Times are changing and cycling is quickly becoming the preferred transportation method for many commuters who live and work in congested areas such as New York City.
According to a report released by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) 750,000 New Yorkers ride a bike on a regular basis. This marks a quarter of a million over the last five years.
It’s not just Manhattan that is trading four wheels for two. Bike commuters in Brooklyn have increased by 75%, the fastest growth rate of all five boroughs. Riders aren’t just staying in their neighborhoods either. There is a sharp rise in cross-borough biking as well.
New York City is a living embodiment of the “Build it and they will come” mentality. In response to making biking safer, NYCDOT expanded their efforts to create a bicycle network that would allow riders to bike around the city safely. This expansion has encouraged more and more people to jump on a bike. Programs like Citi Bike have also had a huge impact on the cycling surge. Citi Bike is a bike sharing program that has seen 23% growth in the last year.
Food delivery and messenger services have long relied on cyclists to get the job done also have some new competition. Uber has made the move into the cycling delivery and courier services arena with approximately 600 cyclists available for hire.
What’s next for cyclists in NYC? There are numerous bicycle lane projects under development in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. The installation of bike lane projects are expected to be completed by the end of the 2016. PlaNYC 2030 initiatives have placed pedestrian and bicycle safety at the forefront.
With the continuous additions of new bike lanes, motorists are having to adjust to the lane changes which can result in some unfortunate scenarios until the new lanes become routine. In the meantime, the NYCDOT is reminding cyclists to be mindful of their surroundings and make sure they stick to the rules of the road. As far as the BikeNYC 2020 survey is concerned, the future of biking in New York should be up to the rider. The Transportation Authority has launched this survey in an effort to gain a better understanding of the needs of current riders and the wishes of those who would like to ride the city streets but don’t.
Over the next ten years NYC expects to see an increase of one million residents, which will make the need for sustainable transportation and safety measures that much more important. Along with that comes the need to understand bicyclists and pedestrians alike as New York continues to aim for safer and sustainable transportation alternatives.
Written by Ryan Nelson
Ryan is a young professional from NYC who catches a concert or stand-up comedy show whenever he can. He is usually found riding around Manhattan on the Citi Bike, whether it be on the rush hour streets or one of the various bike paths.