A small portion of a Crown Heights’ street seems to be particularly notorious for vehicles blocking bike lanes, according to a Localize.city report that identifies the eight New York City hot spots cyclists complain most about.
In addition to 900 Bergen Street in Crown Heights, which garnered 30 complaints over a one-year period, also sections of Downtown Brooklyn, Prospect Lefferts Garden and Bay Ridge made the list.
In November 2016, the city added a new category to its 311 complaint hotline that allowed cyclists to report block bike lane offenses. Localize.citys data science team analyzed 311 complaints from September 4, 2017, to September 4, 2018. To qualify as a hot spot, an area must have had at least 25 complaints within an 82-foot radius. The analysis found that cyclists filed a total of 4,230 complaints about blocked bike lanes over the past year.
This is a relatively new 311 category, and some cyclists may not even be aware that they can file such complaints,” said Michal Eisenberg, Localize.city data scientist. “Many are likely unable to call, text or email when they are pedaling. But there are still some areas with a critical mass of complaints where cyclists are feeling especially frustrated when drivers block their lanes, potentially causing them to swerve into dangerous traffic.
Advocates also warned of the dangers of bike lanes that can be so easily encroached up by drivers and made recommendations on how to keep cyclists safe.
When a city prioritizes convenience for motorists above safety for bicyclists, drivers block bike lanes. That’s not just annoying it can also be deadly, as it forces people on bikes to merge into other lanes with mixed traffic, said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for better bicycling, walking and public transit in NYC. The best way to keep cyclist rights of way clear is to design streets so that bike lanes are located between the parking lane and the curb.
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