Bike Share without the bike lanes Letter

| 23 Sep 2015 | 02:36

    To the Editor:

    The city ​has ​embark​ed on a dangerous new experiment: bike share without significant bike lanes on the Upper East Side. Installation of Upper East Side CitiBike stations began on September 1. But apart from the First Avenue bike lane and a single pair of lanes at East 90th and 91st streets, the neighborhood lacks the bike network that preceded the roll-out of bike share to the south and west. What can we expect?

    Riding bike share has proven far safer than riding a personal bike. But ​to what extent does this this impressive safety record reflect the availability of bike lanes and bike paths in the the original bike share launch zone? These facilities make cycling safer in several ways​: they create a defined, legal space for cyclists where motorists and others can expect to find them; they �collect� cyclists (who will detour in order to use them), creating a larger, more visible flow of riders; and there is a peer-to-peer effect, where the less experienced or considerate cyclists will be exposed to the examples of more experienced and respectful cyclists.

    Why conduct this experiment at all? Let’s instead install crosstown bike lanes and paths on the Upper East Side as in other neighborhoods, to ensure a safe, predictable and successful roll-out of bike share. Steve Vaccaro, E. 96th Street