With a new victim last week, the number of fatal bicycle accidents in New York City in 2016 has now reached 15. In only 8 months the number of bicyclists killed this year in New York City has reached the same number as the number of bicyclist killed during the entire year of 2015. Among these 15 bicycle accidents, 8 of them occurred in Brooklyn, 3 in the Bronx, 2 in Manhattan, 1 in Staten Island and 1 in Queens. In a recent article in the New York Time, Eli Rosenberg provides an in depth analysis of this worrisome rise of fatal bicycle accidents in Brooklyn and what is being done and could be done by the city to prevent them.
The bicycling culture in Brooklyn is the strongest of all 5 boroughs. It has the highest number of bicycle commuters of in the city. However, despite this enthusiasm for this healthy mode of transportation, Brooklyn streets are still very hazardous to bicyclists. Despite Vision Zero efforts to make streets safer, bike lanes, especially protected bike lanes are still lacking in many areas of Brooklyn. The recent death of 35 year old Matthew Von Ohlen is proof that unprotected bike lanes are not enough to make the streets safe. Protected bike lanes have statistically proven to reduce the number of injuries related to accidents by 20%.
As the number of people using their bikes to commute around Brooklyn continues to grow, there is an obvious need for the city to act fast in continuing to create protective bike lanes for bicycle commuters in Brooklyn. While Manhattan already has 122 miles of protected bike lanes, Brooklyn is much larger than Manhattan and yet only has 84 miles of protected bike lanes. 15 more miles are planned to be installed in 2016. 15 miles is better than nothing but still seems like very little. Large areas of South Brooklyn where 3 cyclists died this year still have no bike lanes, protected or not. In his article Eli Rosenberg concludes that there is still a lot to do including changing the old mentality that cars rule and to protect the 18,300 Brooklyn bicyclists who commute to work daily.