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New Bicycle Lane Increases Risk of Bike Accidents

The New York Post wrote about the new bicycle lane that is creating an increased risk of collisions occurring. According to the New York Post, the corridor where the dangerous bike lane is located is on the westbound side stretching around a mile from Douglaston Parkway through 223rd Street. The bike lane was added to this area following the death of a 78-year-old bicycle rider who was killed in a collision in August 2016 at Northern and 223rd street. The Department of Transportation made a proposal to add the new bicycle lane, which was approved initially by the community board. Unfortunately, safety issues quickly became apparent to community leaders who asked the Department of Transportation to reconsider the creation of the bike lane. The bike lane ended up being installed in late September anyway.  Unfortunately, because of the way that the corridor and bike lane are set up, the new barriers that were put in place in this area in order to create the bike lane force drivers to make extra wide right turns in order to get onto Northern Boulevard. This has resulted in a substantial number of motor vehicle accidents occurring. From October 1 through December 13, local officials indicate that at least 11 motor vehicle crashes occurred in this corridor as a direct result of the bicycle lane. With the high number of collisions, the community board and local lawmakers are requesting that the bicycle lane be removed. Instead, they believe it would be safer to have no bike lane there at all but instead to follow a plan to widen sidewalks in the area. Because no immediate action has been taken, Senator Tony Avella sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  The New York Post described the letter as “scathing” and quoted an excerpt from the letter in which the Senator stated: “Almost every week it seems I am receiving reports of yet another accident along the bike lane.” It remains to be seen if the Transportation Commissioner and Department of Transportation take action to respond to the needs of the community. In the meantime, motorists and bicycle riders will need to be extra cautious of this high-risk area. And, if accidents do happen, victims should contact New York City bicycle accident lawyers to understand their rights.

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