Bicycle Safety in Brooklyn and the rest of New York...

  • Bike riding is a healthy recreational activity and also a very environmentally friendly and useful way of transportation.  Bike riding as a form of transportation has been growing each year, especially in states like New York where traffic congestion is a major issue.  Between 2007 and 2011 the number of New Yorkers who used bicycles as their primary mode of commute doubled, and the amount of bicyclists is expected to triple by 2017.  According to data provided by the New York City government, in the span of merely three months, between October 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, there were 754 motor vehicle-bicycle crashes citywide, resulting in three bicyclist fatalities. Nearly half of all NYC motor vehicle fatalities are pedestrians, and seven percent involve bicycles. The New York City Bicycle Coalition and Department of Transportation is working overtime to reduce these rates.  This New York bicycle safety guide provides helpful safety tips for both bike riders and motorists on the roads in New York to help keep everyone on the roads safer.  




    bike safety guide geo pic


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  • I'd like to add a few things.

    A. Locking your bike

    1. Lock your bike inside at night.
    2. Use a solid U-lock such as a kryptonite lock. Insert the lock through the rear wheel and rear triangle.
    3. Use a heavy cable or better yet a chain to secure the front wheel.
    4. Lock to a heavy object such as a bike rack, street light or heavy pole with something on top.
    5. Avoid if possible street signs. Never lock to chain link fences, trees or MTA property.

    B. Safety

    1. Bike lanes are often anything but bike lanes. Be prepared to swerve out of them at a seconds notice.
    2. When stopped at intersections look back to see cars turning or to note distracted drivers.
    3. Exercise additional caution around trucks. Especially turning semis. Stay behind and slightly to the side of to keep yourself visible.
    4. Be extra careful around out of state drivers. They could be distracted, not understand NY and NYC traffic laws. Also they might very well might not be used to being on a road with cyclists.
    5. Treat every taxi and dollar van as if they would gladly run you over to pick up and drop off a passenger. They will also pull dangerous U turns and use bike lanes as loading zones. Any taxi stopped taxi should be treated as an imminent dooring.
    6. Cars are much less likely to stop for you at stop signs then they are for other cars.
    7. Check for cars running red lights when a light turns green. 
    8. MTA buses will use their size against you and routinely run red lights.
    9. The NYPD is not your friend. They may arbitrarily decide to ticket you for things that are not illegal.  

    C. Collisions
    1. The NYPD is not your friend after a collision either. Do not expect the report to unbiased or to be free from errors. Also you may have to fight them to get a copy of the report. They may even be resistant to the idea of writing a report if there were no major injuries. Do not be surprised if they refuse to cite the driver. 


    A few changes I'd make had I wrote this. 

    1. A helmet may very well save your life but it's not a magical piece of armor enchanted with plus 50 car resistance. But wear the thing anyway! If you go down on your head it may very well save your brains. 
    2. Take the lane when necessary. If you think you need to ride in the center of it you probably do. On multiple roads that are known to have aggressive drivers, such as Franklin Ave, consider making taking the rightmost lane your default action. 
    3. Change Accidents to collisions. An accident implies there is no blame and that it was unavoidable. In many accidents one party is to blame. The most states put the bulk of this on the driver of cars.   
    4. The effectiveness of bike bells is highly debatable. Your voice is louder and more readily understood. 
    5. Putting your right arm out is a more readily understood turn signal then the left arm L. 
    6. Second you start talking to the drivers insurance company lawyer up.