A sign pointing cyclists towards the New York Bike Expo in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (Photo: Bo Hamby)
HOST INTRO: More bike lanes are coming to New York City. That’s according to the Transportation Department, which announced plans earlier today to add bike lanes to 13 bridges connecting Manhattan to the Bronx. Meanwhile, in Red Hook, the New York Bike Expo is back. Reporter Bo Hamby was there, and met cyclists who said that while more bike lanes are great, those aren’t the only problem they’re facing.
HAMBY 1: Outside the bike expo at Pier 12 in Red Hook, Daniil Sosnine is getting free repairs on his bright red bike.
((SOUND: Bicycle repairs))
He lives in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and he rode down to the expo. And he’s on his bike quite a bit.
SOSNINE 1: Pretty much every day, actually. I commute and I live on the bike.
HAMBY 2: Sosnine is one of more than 86,000 people who commute by bicycle in New York City according to the Department of Transportation. That’s more bike commuters than any other city in the U-S. Sosnine is an experienced cyclist, and he says he feels pretty safe on the streets, but there can still be some close encounters.
SOSNINE 2: It’s a bit of an adventure… Manhattan is really crazy. Just cars, pedestrians, just all of them seem to have a view to kill you. But it’s part of the fun.
HAMBY 3: And Sosnine says he’s happy with the bike lanes that are being placed throughout the city. As biking has boomed, so have bike routes. There are now more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes around the city — a number that has doubled since 2006. And that network continues to grow. The Transportation Department announced today that all thirteen Harlem River crossings connecting North Manhattan and the Bronx will be outfitted with bike lanes. For cyclists, more bike lanes are always welcome.
PLACE 1: The designated bike lanes really help and I think it’s pretty safe.
HAMBY 4: That’s Sam Place, a cyclist from Manhattan. She says the city has done a pretty good job adding more bike lanes. It’s the cars stopped in those lanes that she’s worried about.
PLACE 2: You just have to watch out for cars opening their doors. So I’ve been hit a few times by that but nothing else.
HAMBY 5: Other cyclists at the expo agreed. They say more bike lanes are great, but potholes and illegally parked cars make them hard to use. Ken McLeod is the policy director for the League of American Cyclists. He says two things need to be done to make streets safer for them.
McLEOD 1: One is slowing down streets, so that when crashes do occur they aren’t as harmful. The other thing is protected and connected infrastructure.
HAMBY 6: Like the bike lanes planned for the Harlem River crossings. Taliah Lempert agrees. She’s selling bicycle paintings at the expo — and she’s been riding bikes in the city for twenty years.
LEMPERT 1: New York is a great city for cycling.
HAMBY 7: And she’s happy that the city is adding more bike lanes in places like North Manhattan.
LEMPERT 2: I think it’s great. There’s a lot of them and I hope they put in more.
HAMBY 7: And like Place, Lempert says motorists are the real problem. They disregard bike lanes, which means she’s constantly on the lookout for car doors. But that’s not going to stop her from getting on her bike.
LEMPERT 3: Life is dangerous.
HAMBY 8: But life for New York cyclists should be a little less dangerous in 2021, when the first bike lanes over the Harlem River are completed.
SOC: Bo Hamby, Columbia Radio News.