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Morning Spew

It’s Becoming a Historically Deadly Year for NYC Cyclists

Not installing protected bike lanes has fatal consequences.

9:16 AM EDT on August 10, 2023

A cyclist navigates a busy city street

(Marco Verch / Flickr)

Around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, an e-bike rider was struck and killed by a driver of a large vehicle in Hunts Point, in the Bronx. The police have not been able to identify the victim, and the driver fled the scene. This death marked 21 cyclists or e-bike riders killed on New York City streets so far this year, a 50 percent increase over 2022. It's a grim statistic that puts us on track to have the deadliest year for cyclists in 40 years.

How did we get here? The proliferation of heavy trucks and SUVs on our roads makes crashes deadlier, but New York City has failed to create and maintain the infrastructure necessary to support the bicycling boom. New York is legally required to create 50 miles of protected bike lanes every year, per the Streets Master Plan that the City Council passed in 2019. The Adams administration isn't even close to reaching that goal, and they've already complained that they can't do it.

These failures have life and death consequences. In the Bronx council district where the e-bike rider was killed on Wednesday, just 1.64 percent of streets have protected bike lanes; the city average is 4.23 percent, and some wealthier neighborhoods enjoy 20 percent.

Even these measures are still pathetic compared to cities like Paris, which goes entire months without seeing traffic fatality. Why? Because they actually give a shit about preventing senseless road deaths—they take space from vehicles and give it cyclists and pedestrians, they install traffic calming measures, and they have the political fortitude to stand by their decisions. Basically, they do the opposite of what Mayor Eric Adams has done in his year and a half in office.

In this way, New York is the quintessential American city, a dangerous, polluted snarl where you're three times as likely to die on the road as our friends in Paris.

Via that great Bloomberg story linked in the previous graf.

So much for #GettingStuffDone.

Here are some more stories we're paying attention to:

And finally: look at this lil cutie crossing the road!

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