Bicycles are becoming increasingly popular in New York City, especially with the implementation of Citi Bike a few years ago. However, one issue in the transportation field that always seems to be overlooked is bicycle safety. According to statistics from the New York City Department of Transportation, bicyclist injuries involving motor vehicles have not decreased over the past five years. In fact, bicyclist injuries have slightly increased. While there are many areas in New York City with bicycle lanes, in today’s day and age with an increase on the utilization and reliance of delivery, I find that many bike lanes get blocked by freight trucks parked in the lanes while making their deliveries. When these freight trucks block bicycle lanes, bicyclists are forced to expose themselves to the blinded drivers caused by the freight trucks. Due to this sudden emergence of bicycles riding into traffic, this creates a huge risk for collision, injury, and fatality.
In the field of transportation planning, it is the outlook of many that with every solution, there are three problems that emerge as a result. Therefore, this is not an easy solution to fix. While one can simply say that the law should prohibit these trucks from parking in the bicycle lanes, this would cause many businesses to lose business due to the lack of delivery service that they often rely on.
This issue seems to be an issue with the implementation of more complete streets, so that all modes of transportation could easily coexist on the same streets. However, this is far too complicated and expensive for a city as complex as New York City. While I do not have a foolproof solution to this issue, there are some interesting ideas that I believe could be expanded on. One possible solution could be Uber. Uber has a service called UberRUSH that is essentially Uber for delivery. What if this service were to be expanded for businesses? While these vehicles would also have the problem of parking, compared to freight vehicles, they would not take up as much room, they would not need to stay as long, and they would not be able to reserve these “parking spots” for other delivery trucks (as they often do) because the Uber drivers are independent. While this solution definitely has its flaws, I believe that it may be able to help reduce bicycle injuries. Another idea that may or may not be more futuristic involves self-driving vehicles. Would these possibly help? I believe that with self-driving vehicles being able to detect objects in its surroundings, that bicycle safety would improve. While I am not so familiar with this technology, I cannot say that it would be effective, however it may be something to consider as our technology advances.