As Cyclist Death Toll Rises, Study Finds NYC Bike Lanes Often Obstructed

Steve Burns
December 21, 2019 - 3:52 pm
New York City cyclist

Spencer Platt/Getty Images


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A new study confirms something bicyclists in the city already know well—there’s always something blocking the bike lanes.

Last year the number of cyclists killed on New York City streets was 10. This year that number has nearly tripled to 29.

The startling number of deaths have led to calls for the city to do more to protect cyclists.

Activists say one place to start is to make sure anything that isn’t a bike isn’t in the city’s bike lanes, whether it be a cab or a delivery truck.

A new study from Hunter College found an average of 7 ½ bike lane obstructions for every 10 city blocks. That’s about 11 ½ obstacles per a mile.

Most of the time, those blockages were found to be either pedestrians or motor vehicles. The third most frequent obstacle was construction.

Manhattan at rush hour saw the most problems.

While advocates have been calling for more protective bike lanes—putting a physical barrier between cyclists and cars—the study found those protected lanes actually see slightly more obstructions than the unprotected lanes.

Mayor de Blasio signed the “Streets Master Plan” into law last month. It commits to building 250 miles of protective bike lanes in the city over five years starting in late 2021.