New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has announced a plan that would revamp the CitiBike bicycle-sharing program, to include doubling the size of the fleet, increasing the number of stations, extending service to new boroughs and raising the annual fee.
While the bike-sharing program has so far not been cited in any traffic deaths, a study released in June revealed the number of head injuries in cities with bike-sharing programs was 14 percent higher. Our New York City bicycle injury lawyers know that no matter how cautious and experienced a cyclist is, they may be no match for a motorist who is inattentive, drunk or simply careless.
The hope is the more cyclists there are, the more drivers will get used to seeing them and therefore adapt their driving habits accordingly. However, we also know the higher the number of cyclists on city streets, the greater the chances of traffic accidents.
Currently, the CitiBike program has a fleet of 6,200 bicycles at 330 stations. De Blasio wants to nearly double that to 12,000, starting next year and ending in 2017. Where there are currently no stations located east of Norstrand Avenue in Brooklyn, or north of 60th Street in Manhattan, the expansion would change that, plus bring the program for the first time to Queens.
Meanwhile, the proposed rate increase for an annual membership, from $95 to $155, would be used to address notoriously poor customer service response, as well as the wear and tear to both the stations and bicycles, which have become a potential hazard to riders. Officials say the property wear and tear has largely to do with the fact that the program has been less used by short-term tourists (who would tend to ride shorter distances) and more by routine users (who tend to ride for longer distances, and off main roads).
Complaints have been pouring into the city from riders who say the worn condition of the bikes and the docks have created potentially dangerous conditions for cyclists.
According to data provided by the city, a New Yorker is seriously injured or killed every two hours as a result of a traffic accident. Annually, more than 4,000 are seriously hurt, while 250 are killed.
Between 1996 and 2005, nearly 3,500 cyclists were seriously injured in New York City, while 225 died. Although cyclists make up just 17 percent of vehicles on the road in the city, they account for nearly a third of all traffic deaths. The vast majority of fatalities (nearly 90 percent) happened either at or near intersections.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons found in a study last year that cycling was the most dangerous sporting activity in the country, accounting for 86,000 of the nearly 450,000 sports-related head injuries treated by emergency room physicians annually.
Still, De Blasio is pushing for a “Vision Zero” policy that aims to cut traffic deaths down to zero by 2024, through initiatives such as reduction of speed limits and enhanced traffic enforcement by police.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
De Blasio Deal Could Give Bike Sharing in New York a New Imprint, July 27, 2014, By Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times
More Blog Entries:
Report: Bike-Sharing Programs Up Risk of Head Injury, July 13, 2014, New York City Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog