Major cities around the world are making a shift from being car friendly to pedestrian and biker friendly. With an over crowding of cars, vans, and trucks in cities throughout the country, city legislations are being devised to encourage alternative methods of transportation. One of the biggest pushes is to expand biker’s rights and to protect them under the law. Not only will this keep bikers safe, but also it will encourage more people to bike. If enough people make the switch, a biking culture grows throughout the city. Growing a bike culture in a city will lead too less automotive fatalities, as well as creating a healthier citizen. Now, people drive and take trains. Biking between locations will most likely be quicker and better for your body. In order to encourage the growth of a biking culture here in NYC, the DOT has set up multiple projects that are designed to increase the visibility of people riding while keeping current bikers safe and protected.
The planning an execution of new biking legislation is not simple or quick. The process of creating bike lanes could take upwards of 3 years. For instance, in 2011, the Ridgewood Property Owners & Civic Association proposed wide sweeping changes to several streets in Queens, New York. This proposal dealt with sections of:
For each of the above-mentioned streets, not many bike lanes exist. This forces bikes to share major roads with cars, vans, and trucks. The proposal to Queens Community Board 5 requires substantial work and redeveloping. The proposal calls for designated bike lanes as well as shared bike lanes. The work that is being done will help to make people living in Queens safer and healthier.
Recently, the city has developed a bike share program, and after the first year it is clear that the proposal has been popular. The city is responding by expanding the program. This is both in terms of expanding a current fleet, as well as pushing the program deeper into the four other boroughs.
What the DOT is doing benefits both commuters as well as those who operate bikes commercially. Cargo bikes have their place in NYC, because it allows goods to be transported easily and cheaply. Rules are being put in place to give more freedoms to cargo bikes as well as keeping riders safe.
It will be interesting to watch biking culture in NYC grow and take form.