On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Cycling Safety on Friday, August 24, 2012.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about cycling safety culture in New York City. In an effort to reduce the prevalence of bicycle accidents in NYC, the Bloomberg administration has insisted that hundreds of miles of bike lanes be painted onto the streets of the city. While not everyone initially welcomed the change, public opinion seems to be shifting in favor of safety for cyclists over more room for motor vehicles.
The New York Times recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 New Yorkers which asked simply "whether the bike lanes were a good idea or a bad idea." Two-thirds of respondents affirmed that the lanes were indeed a good idea. Furthermore, a majority of respondents in every borough support the bike lanes, most significantly in Manhattan.
Bike lanes allow cyclists a safer place to commute than streets governed solely by motorists. This significant support of the bike lanes several years after their installation "suggest that residents have gradually become accustomed to bike lanes, which have been frequent targets of tabloid ire and are already emerging as a flash point in the 2013 mayoral race," according to the Times.
Most respondents who responded negatively expressed that bike lanes hinder motor vehicle traffic. However, if cyclists, pedestrians and motorists continue to be safer as a result of the new lanes, perhaps support will grow among detractors as well.
It is possible that support for the bike lanes over time will lead more New Yorkers to support additional safety measures aimed at NYC's cyclists and pedestrians. Even a slight shift in the city's streetscape culture for the safer is a significant step forward for all New Yorkers.
Source: New York Times, "Bicycle Lanes Draw Wide Support Among New Yorkers, Survey Finds," Michael M. Grynbaum and Marjorie Connelly, Aug. 21, 2012