A bicyclist using the dedicated lanes in Manhattan for five or six blocks will find a vehicle in the way 60% of the time, according to a new survey released by Hunter College. The report found that most vehicles obstructing bike lanes do so for less than 10 minutes, but the abuses are widespread, and occur more frequently during morning rush hour. Graduate students conducted the study on 492 randomly selected street blocks with Class II bike lanes (lanes delineated by painted stripes on city streets) in Manhattan on weekdays from September 22nd to October 23rd, and they even pinpointed Manhattan's most obstructed bike lane. Any guesses?
If you said East 90th Street between Fifth and Third avenues, take a bow! Professor William Milczarski, a co-author of the report, said in a statement that, duh, "the data reveal that bike lanes are frequently blocked, and greater efforts need to be expended to restrict the occupation of these lanes by vehicles." The report's co-author, Professor Peter Tuckel, adds, "Cyclists view these obstructed bike lanes as not only representing an infringement on their territory, but also posing a serious safety hazard. 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."
A previous study spearheaded by the same professors in the Department of Sociology found that a large number of cyclists routinely disobey many traffic laws. Their new report also notes that 20 percent of cyclists observed do not ride in the bike lane, and cyclists who ride in the bike lane are more likely to wear helmets than cyclists who ride on the street (72 percent versus 64 percent). Because they're crazy!