Updated 10/08/2010 10:36 PM
Study: City Bike Lanes Have Numerous Safety Violations
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
A new study finds Manhattan bicycle lanes are not the easy route they were designed to be.
The Manhattan borough president's office finds that double-parked cars, delivery trucks, pedestrians and even police and city vehicles are clogging up the bike lanes.
The study monitored 11 Manhattan bicycle lanes over 22 hours this week, and monitors found more than 1,700 violations. Only two summonses were issued.
Nineteen police cars were observed blocking bike lanes, as well as 16 other city vehicles, including a school bus.
Opening car doors forced 77 cyclists to swerve out of the way on the lanes.
Cyclists themselves are not sticking to the rules, as 242 riders were seen going the wrong way and 237 blew through red lights.
Also, 741 pedestrians were seen standing in bike lanes.
At a press conference today, Borough President Scott Stringer called for better signs and a taxi rider awareness campaign.
He also said he would like to see police officers and parking agents on bicycles issuing summonses.
"We need to ensure that bike lanes are used with maximum success. We need to respect these lanes and clear the path," said Stringer.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement today, "As our bike network expands we are also doing more to make sure that it is respected and used safely, and we look forward to working with the borough president on these important safety issues."
Cyclists say they sometimes do not follow the rules of the bike lanes, but that sharing the lanes can lead to problems.
"When I'm in a rush, I might go through a red light or I might go up the wrong street, but it might be because there are such few bike lanes and it's hard to get around," said a cyclist.
"I think there should be a little barrier, so that cars can be on the biking lane. It happens a lot, that some trucks are parked there for delivery, or taxi drivers get into lanes," said another cyclist.
Drivers, pedestrians and deliverymen in the East Village also had no shortage of opinions on problems and how to fix them.
"Avenues are more narrow. A lot of bikers never use this lane, they just go on the completely opposite side of the avenue," said a local. "So I think it's kind of a waste of money."
"For my safety alone, I have to look both ways before I pass this lane right here, because there's always a bicyclist just riding the wrong way," said a pedestrian. "It's ruining the parking as well."
City officials say removing the bike lanes is not an option, as they want viable alternative transportation to cars and mass transit.
An East Village cyclist was in agreement, and told NY1, "If I wasn't on a bike today, I'd be in a taxi, or my car, or an extra person stuffing myself into the subway."
The study follows a medical study from New York University that finds that most bicycle accidents involve young men who do not wear helmets, and who wear earphones or drink before riding.