New York City now has more than 800 miles of bike lanes. The Citi Bike System is likely to increase the number of bicycle riders. Currently thousands of bicycles are available at hundreds of stations. They provide convenience by being accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Each station has its own kiosk and a bicycle is released upon rental.
With the increase in bicyclists in New York City should we also expect to see an increase in bicycle accidents? A recent study by the Alliance for Biking and Walking indicates the answer is no. The study was based on data from 2011 and 2012 and found that cities which have higher biking and walking rates actually have lower fatality rates for people who walk and bike. Drivers, riders and walkers get used to sharing the road. New York City currently has a high percentage of commuters who walk to work (10.3%) but a relatively low percent of commuters who bike to work (0.7%). That percentage may increase as more people take advantage of the CitiBike program. Cities with high rates of bicycle commuters tend to have lower rates of obesity and diabetes.
In an effort to provide safe biking, the city offers a free “Official Guide to Cycling in NYC.” In addition Citi Bike Street Skills Classes are available for free and upon completion participants receive a 24 hour complimentary pass to use a Citi Bike.
Some tips to prevent bicycle accidents for those who haven’t attended the class or viewed the guide include:
- Always wear a helmet!
- Always yield to pedestrians and stay off the sidewalk.
- Obey traffic lights as you would if you were driving a car.
- Ride in the same direction of traffic.
- Citi Bike’s are intended for people 16 years and older. They should not be used by younger children. Before riding you should verify the bike is set up properly for your height.
- Also verify the bicycle is in good working condition. Check the air level in the tires and make sure the brakes work properly.
- Be predictable when riding your bicycle. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Use hand signals to let drivers know where you are going.
- Use bike lanes and bike paths whenever possible.
- Never text while riding a bicycle.
- It is illegal to ride a bicycle with headphones covering both ears.
Following these steps will help you prevent a bicycle accident. For more information or if you have been in a bicycle accident please Contact Us.