NEW YORK, New York — Subways in New York are nearly empty. Yet, people are still going to work, and they are choosing bike-sharing rides to get there. According to an article appearing in the New York Post, people who once relied on the subway are turning to services like Citibike to get to their jobs. The increase in bike riders on New York City streets has the potential to cause havoc with established traffic patterns and could cause a spike in bicycle riders being hit by cars and incidents in which the bike riders slam into pedestrians.
Subway officials and the mayor of New York asked people to avoid the City’s subway system to reduce the number of riders, which would hopefully slow the progress of the coronavirus spread. Many people heeded that advice, but instead of walking or taking a cab, commuters turned to bicycles as a means of getting around New York.
City authorities began measuring the number of people riding bikes of the four bridges situated on the East River of Manhattan since 2017. Last week, 21,300 people rode over the East River on bikes into Manhattan. The figure represents of 52 percent increase from any typical day in March of 2019. The average temperature in 2019 was 12 degrees cooler than March of 2020.
Researchers say that the weather in 2017 is comparable to the weather in March of 2020. In March of 2017, 14,729 bikes crossed the river on average every day.
While the East River bridges have lanes dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian traffic, New York’s streets do not always have dedicated bike lanes. Therefore, riders must navigate vehicular and pedestrian traffic to arrive safely at their destination. Negotiating all of the hazards is difficult for a seasoned bike commuter. The task is doubly difficult for someone who is riding for the first time.
The Post reports that many people who are renting bikes from bike-sharing companies are first-time riders. First-time riders may present tremendous hazards because they lack experience handling bikes in confined spaces while safely traveling through New York’s crowded streets.
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