Study Finds City Bike Lanes Blocked by Cars, Trucks and Taxis

By Nicole Bode on December 3, 2009 2:05pm | Updated on December 3, 2009 2:04pm

The wreckage of Shami Chaikin's motorized wheelchair after she swerved to avoid a sanitation truck parked in a bike lane on Eighth Avenue.
The wreckage of Shami Chaikin's motorized wheelchair after she swerved to avoid a sanitation truck parked in a bike lane on Eighth Avenue.
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Serena Solomon/DNAinfo

By Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Associate Editor

MANHATTAN — New York City bike lanes are a hazardous obstacle course of cars, trucks and taxis, a new study has found.

On a 10-minute trip, a cyclist has to swerve around a vehicle blocking their lane more than 60 percent of the time, according to the survey by Hunter College.

The biggest offenders are cars, followed by small trucks and taxis.

The disturbing report comes amid growing concerns about the safety of cyclists in Manhattan. Just last month, a wheelchair-bound Greenwich Village woman was hit by a garbage truck when she was forced to go around it in a bike lane.

“The intended purpose of these bike lanes is to provide a safe and secure passageway for cyclists,” said Hunter College Sociology Professor Peter Tuckel, who co-authored the study with Hunter Urban Planning Professor William Milczarski.

“In order to avoid cars and trucks parked in bike lanes, cyclists need to swerve into the regular traffic flow, thus putting their safety at risk.”

The street with the worst offenders is East 90th Street between Fifth and Third avenues, according to the study.

As could be expected, blocked bike lanes were found more often during morning rush hour.

The study surveyed 492 randomly selected Manhattan streets with bike lanes over the course of a month this fall. Researchers stuck to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The study comes just weeks after a wheelchair-bound actress traveling in a bike lane was hit and killed by a sanitation truck in the West Village.

Shami Chaikin, 78, allegedly tried to move around an idling garbage truck, but the truck pulled out and hit her. She is still in a critical condition in hospital.

 

 

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