BikeNYC 2020: How to Transform New York into a World-Class Bicycling City is a report about how Mayor Bill de Blasio can reach his goal of doubling the number of people who ride a bicycle in New York City by 2020.

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Table of Contents: Letter from the Executive Director • Executive Summary • A Vision for a World-Class Bicycling City • Where Did You Go, Bike Master Plan? • Findings from the BikeNYC 2020 Survey • Major Investments for a Biking Future • Expanding and Connecting the Network • Initiatives for a World-Class Bicycling City • Conclusion • Appendix A: Cycling and Public Health Research – Quantifying the Benefits • Appendix B: Cycling and Law Enforcement – Enforcing by the Data • Credits

Executive Summary

Results of the BikeNYC2020 survey

Bicycling is New York City’s fastest growing mode of transportation. Today, three-quarters of a million people regularly ride a bicycle in New York City, and that number is growing faster than the economy, or the population. At the start of his first term, Mayor Bill de Blasio set a goal for 2020: Double the number of New Yorkers who regularly ride a bicycle.

To understand this explosive growth, outline how Mayor de Blasio can meet his goal of 1.5 million bicycling New Yorkers, and explain what the City of the New York must do to protect and nurture this growing population, Transportation Alternatives conducted a series of intensive focus groups, and interviewed thousands of New Yorkers. The result is BikeNYC 2020: What New York Needs to be a World-Class Bicycling City – a report on the state of bicycling, and its future. Transportation Alternatives found:

  • More than two-thirds of less frequent riders said the most important thing the City of New York could do to encourage them to ride more is build more protected bike lanes.
  • 71% of those who used to ride, but stopped, said that feeling unsafe played a role in their stopping, and 21% stopped directly because of a harrowing incident.
  • Results of the BikeNYC2020 survey
  • 92% of former bicyclists said that more protected bike lanes would encourage them to ride again.
  • 99% of less experienced bicyclists feel safer in a protected bike lane.
  • 88% of frequent bicyclists are concerned about being hit by a driver, and 94% of frequent bicyclists have encountered at least one car parked in a bike lane in the past month.

This research demonstrates that the City of New York’s investment in protected bike lanes has been critical to the growth of bicycling, and that the widespread installation of this infrastructure is critical to its continued growth. 

However, the past build-out of the bicycle network has largely 
benefited the central business districts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, disregarding neighborhoods that already suffer from poor access to transit. This inequity is compounded by disproportionate police action against predominantly immigrant delivery workers, and in Black and Latino neighborhoods. 

To combat this inequity, and to meet New York’s transportation needs and desires, as well as meet Mayor de Blasio’s goal of doubling bicycling by 2020, Transportation Alternatives recommends:

Results of the BikeNYC2020 survey
  • Invest the lion’s share of street redesign resources in neighborhoods that have historically been ignored.
  • Guarantee that every New Yorker will live within a ¼ mile of a protected bike lane by 2020.
  • Couple every redesign of a major street with the installation of a protected bike lane. In the past fiscal year, 83 miles of bike lanes were added to New York City streets, 80% of which were unprotected. But over the same time period, the City found resources to resurface 1,321 miles of roads, yet failed to take the opportunity to integrate protected bike lanes on these streets.
  • Launch trial projects to prove the efficacy of bicycle superhighways, protected intersections, and car-free PeopleWays to encourage more bicycling, and make more streets safe for bicycling.
  • Build dedicated, protected bicycle access on every bridge, working with other agencies as required.
  • Results of the BikeNYC2020 survey
  • Facilitate a five-borough bike share system by directing public funding from City Hall and loosening current requirements to help Citi Bike reach every neighborhood.
  • Prioritize the passage of laws in the New York City Council that facilitate bicycling, including the legalization of the “Idaho Stop” at red lights and of safe electric-assist bikes, granting bicyclists the right to proceed on walk signals with leading pedestrian intervals, and permission for parents to ride on sidewalks beside their children.
  • End police practices that depress bicycling, such as ticketing for minor bicyclist infractions in places where drivers have killed bicyclists, and the inequitable crackdown on commercial bicyclists.
  • Increase the installation of bicycle parking in residential and commercial neighborhoods.
  • Work with the City Council to create an exemption for Vision Zero Priority Corridors in Local Law 61 of 2011, which suggests the necessity for community board hearings on the construction or removal of bicycle lanes.