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Vision Zero: Mayor de Blasio Announces Comprehensive Study of Cyclist Safety -- As Bicycle Ridership in New York City Soars

July 31, 2017

NEW YORK–Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the release of a comprehensive study of cyclist safety in New York City. The study, Safer Cycling: Bicycle Ridership and Safety in New York City, provides key insights regarding cycling safety across the five boroughs, including that the dramatic increase in daily cycling has accompanied a corresponding increase in cycling safety.  Created by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the study also looks at factors behind crashes, and provides a comprehensive action plan to further improve cycling safety in the years ahead.

The report was released by DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg at the Brooklyn entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, the site of a major and just-completed Vision Zero safety project improving pedestrian/cyclist access.

“While we continue to make progress on Vision Zero this year, one cyclist fatality is still too many,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The conclusion of this excellent multi-agency study – that cycling has grown safer at the same time that its popularity has soared – means that our Vision Zero efforts, including redesigning streets to add protected bike lanes, are making a real difference.  With detailed and specific plans to make further improvements that protect cyclists in neighborhoods around the City, this study will help us keep that momentum going for years to come.”  

“The dramatic growth of cycling is great news, as more New Yorkers discover a means of transportation that is affordable, sustainable, healthy and fun,” said Commissioner Trottenberg.  “Under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, cyclist safety is our paramount concern, as demonstrated by our record construction of protected bike lanes.  But we have so much more work to do, and this study provides a detailed and data-driven road map to make cycling even safer.”

“With the tremendous growth of cycling in New York City, comes the responsibility of all users of our roadways to be cognizant of bicyclist safety,” said NYPD’s Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Drivers need to be aware of the vulnerability of bicyclists and drive in a manner conducive to bicyclist safety. At the same time, bicyclists must also obey the rules of the road and have the proper equipment to ensure their visibility.”

“Cycling is a healthy form of exercise that can lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The administration’s commitment to adding additional bike lanes while enhancing existing ones has led to the dramatic growth in the number of New Yorkers cycling daily. This new plan will further increase safety for cyclists.”

Key study insights include:

*Improved safety trends – Cycling safety has improved significantly in recent years; since 2006, bicycle ridership has more than doubled while cyclist fatalities, while still too high, have remained relatively flat (since 2000, between 12 and 24 fatalities per year).  Cycling has increased faster than population or employment with an estimated 164 million bicycle trips in 2015 alone, up from nearly 66 million trips in 2006 -- a 150% increase.  Between 2011 and 2015, New York City experienced an average of 12.8 cyclist fatalities per 100 million bicycle trips compared to 44.2 cyclist fatalities per 100 million trips between 1996 and 2000, a decline of 71%. 

*Citi Bike -- The launch of Citi Bike coincided with a drop in cyclists killed or severely injured within the bike share area. The number of cyclists killed or severely injured declined by 17% within the bike-share zone after one year of operation, despite a recorded 8.2 million bike share trips in the first year of operation.  More than 40 million Citi Bike trips have been taken over four years.

*Bicycle lanes -- Between 2006 and 2016, the vast majority -- 89% -- of cyclist fatalities occurred on streets without a bicycle lane.

*Intersections -- A majority of cyclist fatalities and severe injuries occur at intersections.  Study results reveal the majority of cyclist fatalities (65%) and those killed/severely injured (89%) happen at intersections.

*Creating New “Priority Bicycle Districts” -- A number of New York City neighborhoods have significant cyclist fatalities and severe injuries, but are underserved by the bicycle network.  The study identifies 10 Priority Bicycle Districts, community boards with comparatively high numbers of cyclist fatalities and severe injuries and few bicycle lanes. These districts – seven in Brooklyn and three in Queens – represent 14% of the city’s bicycle network, but now have 23% of cyclist fatalities or severe injuries.

The study features a comprehensive plan to improve cyclist safety, including:

*Engineering and Planning: DOT will implement at least 50 lane miles of bicycle lanes annually - including at least 10 lane miles of protected bicycle lanes; create or enhance 75 lane miles of bicycle lanes in newly designated Priority Bicycle Districts by 2022, and complete a study of best practices in intersection design for bicycle lanes in 2018.

*Data and Research: DOT will expand bike count data collection to better understand where and when New Yorkers are cycling.

*Enforcement: DOT will collaborate with NYPD to focus and deploy enforcement resources to intersections with high rates of cyclist fatalities and severe injuries.

*Education: DOT will target data-driven outreach strategies to promote safe driving and cycling behavior, and will promote safe cycling for young New Yorkers.

*Legislation: DOT will advocate for legislation requiring all companies that conduct business with the city to install truck side guards.

“I applaud DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for her steadfast commitment to Vision Zero and bike safety,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.  “Safer streets for cyclists mean safer streets for all, including our motorists and pedestrians. Expanding the footprint of our bike-friendly infrastructure is an important mobility enhancement for our entire borough.”

"These numbers show real progress in making cycling a more attractive option to get around our city," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "They are a testament to the great work of the DOT and Mayor de Blasio. The growing popularity of Citi Bike, coupled with the steady increase of protected bike lanes across the city are huge factors and show a need for us to pick up the pace on expanding both. At the same time, we continue to leave cyclists vulnerable with a lack of crosstown bike lanes as well as insufficient sharrows along some key routes such as Franklin St. in Greenpoint. By prioritizing new protected lanes and increased enforcement of drivers at high-crash intersections, we can make cycling in the City even safer and continue this healthy boom in popularity."

"We are making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists from one another and cars by giving each their own 'lane', education, and enforcement," said Council Member Ben Kallos who launched a Bike Safety Program with DOT for the Upper East Side. "Residents are voting with their pedals as new bike lanes make it safer for everyone and ridership is soaring while collisions are on the decline. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for her leadership and partnership in making our streets safer for all who use them."

“As more New Yorkers are biking around the City, we need a comprehensive plan to ensure the smart growth and safety of our community,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “While we have made great progress in the past, this plan sets the bar even higher in terms of safety and commitments to biking infrastructure. With this vision in place I expect many more people to continue exploring the joy of biking in our City.”

"Bicycle riding in New York City is at an all-time high, but we still have too many preventable cycling-related injuries and fatalities,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “The City's newly released study on cyclist safety proves we can do better. It documents the benefits of Vision Zero Street designs and practices. It also lists proven solutions and identifies dangerous locations where they will have the most impact. High risk intersections and zones without protected bike lanes should be prioritized for improvements that increase street safety for everyone."
“With more New Yorkers opting to travel by bike as a greener, faster mode of transportation, it is increasingly important to ensure the safety of everyone who shares our roadways,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.  “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his Administration for drawing attention to the need for high-quality cycling data and for presenting comprehensive strategies to improvecyclist safety.”
"With the increase of cycling in New York City, Vision Zero reaffirms our commitment to keeping cyclists safe," said Council Member Andrew Cohen. "Making sure cycling is a safe alternative to other means of transportation in the city benefits us all. We have been taking so many important steps to ensure that as the number of bicycles on the street increase, so do safety measures to keep them safe, and Vision Zero is an instrumental part in making sure that happens."

"More and more New Yorkers get around on two wheels these days, an extremely positive development for our streets and for our environment,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “I count myself among them. Continuing to foster this growth starts with keeping people safe.  I applaud the Mayor for his continued commitment and urge us as a City to keep thinking bolder as we work to create truly safe streets."

“Bikes give New Yorkers the freedom to get around where they want, when they want—going places that traditional transit just doesn’t go,” said Jay Walder, President & CEO of Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike. “We see this with New Yorkers taking over 70,000 trips per day on Citi Bike. We are grateful to the City for the work it’s done to build out the bike network in the Citi Bike service area. As Citi Bike expands, we are proud to be a partner to ensure that New Yorkers support even more safe biking infrastructure.” 

"Biking is booming in NYC because of the concerted investments City Hall has made to make biking a safe and easy option for more New Yorkers," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "As this report points out, there is safety in numbers for cyclists and neighborhoods are disproportionately benefitting from the health, economic and safety benefits of increased bike ridership. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that New Yorkers across the five boroughs have access to an expanded protected bike lane network and the Big Apple's most nimble public transit option, Citi Bike."

With a record number of New Yorkers embracing cycling as a convenient and affordable method of transportation, New York City is committed to supporting further cycling growth and ensuring that safe cycling remains a core goal. Since 2006, NYC DOT has increased the quality and size of the bike network by adding 308 conventional bike lane miles, adding 74 lane miles of protected bike lanes, distributing more than 180,000 free bike helmets, distributing thousands of free bike bells and bike lights, and conducting safety trainings at hundreds of New York City Schools. In 2013, New York City launched Citi Bike, which is now the largest bike share system in North America.

For more detailed information DOT bike safety programs, please see here. For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see

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