The cycle of life: make bike safety a priority

Angelica Tejada

In July 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “Green Wave” plan, which entails a citywide commitment to make the busy streets of New York City safer for cyclists. The implementation of this plan has caused mixed reactions from drivers as traffic signals have been altered in favor of cyclists.

The plan came about after the city was faced with a peak in cyclists’ death compared to 2018. After the death of an 87-year-old cyclist struck by a vehicle in Brooklyn on Nov. 2, the number of cyclists killed by motor vehicles this year rose to 26, according to CBS New York. 

Light signals were changed to “be coordinated with cyclists who bike about 15 miles per hour, down from signals’ current coordination with drivers going 25 miles per hour,” reported Patch Media. 

While cyclists are being prioritized on the city’s streets, drivers are faced with more inconveniences driving around the city as traffic is slower. Officials said this impact was seen on Hoyt Street where “traffic slowed during the evening rush to an average of 12 m.p.h. down from 17 m.p.h.,” according to The New York Times

Overall, the slowing of traffic has its benefits towards reducing the chances for drivers to be speeding down streets. More traffic causes more trouble for drivers, which is a valid complaint. 

However, it creates a safer scenario for cyclists on the streets. In most cases in which the driver is going over the speed limit, cyclists on the same street are disregarded and placed in a dangerous situation.The city has implemented the “Green Wave” plan, which does have a long-term process to increase biking and its safety in New York City. However, the city can do more to improve biking efforts.

Every cyclist is encouraged to wear a helmet while riding but not everyone is required to. Cyclists 13 years old and under are required to wear one by New York state law. This law should be changed to require every cyclist to wear a helmet because it will ensure every cyclist’s protection while riding. 

In New York City, speed cameras measure a vehicle’s speed and if it is over the speed limit an image is captured of the vehicle. 

The expansion on speed cameras should go beyond just school speed zones because it has proven to ensure the safety of people on the streets, whether inside or outside of the vehicle. 

“DOT will also expand the citywide 7th Grade Bike Safety Program in collaboration with DOE and Bike New York going to 25 schools in the 2019-2020 academic year,” stated the “Green Plan.” 

The effort to educate more young people on how to be safe on bikes around the city should reach more students. 

CUNY should team up with organizations and host events in its various schools where students can learn how to ride bikes safely in the city.