The number of commuters riding their bikes to work has increased by 26 percent over the past year, according to city statistics. In a “dramatic” uptick, the portion of New Yorkers traveling to work on bikes has doubled since 2002. This spike comes after an increase of 35 percent last year and amidst the Department of Transportation’s ambitious — and at time controversial — push to bolster the city’s bike lane network. Over the past three years, the city has laid down 200 new miles of cycling routes including loved and loathed paths on Kent Avenue in Brooklyn and Ninth Avenue and Grand Street in Manhattan.
“Cycling in the city continues growing rapidly as our bike network expands and becomes safer,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, whose agency determined the increase by studying “highly used areas where trends are easily spotted” like the East River bridges, the Staten Island Ferry’s Whitehall terminal, and 50th Street on each avenue and the Hudson River Greenway. “With more cyclists using roads alongside motorists, both need to take safety measures and look out for each other when sharing our streets.”
The bike boosters over at Transportation Alternatives cheered the surge in commuter cycling: “New Yorkers are starting to hop on bikes with the same readiness as they hail a cab or take the subway,” said spokesman Wiley Norvell. “Cycling is finally becoming a full-blown means of transportation for the city.” The folks over at Streetsblog put together a video to celebrate the uptick.
While the streets might be improving for bikers, another study revealed yesterday that the city remains a dangerous place for pedestrians. Almost one out of three people killed in New York-area traffic accidents is a pedestrian — a percentage nearly three times the national average, according to the Daily News.