A new bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge has nearly doubled the number of people who bike across the famous East River crossing. This is the latest sign that better infrastructure is helping to increase the number of people who bike in the city.
The two-way bike lane opened in the middle of September. In October, its first full month of operation, an average of 4,206 people rode their bikes each day, up from 2,239 during the same time last year, according to data released by the Department of Transportation.
At the same time, the number of people riding bikes on the nearby Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge has mostly stayed the same. This suggests that the new lane hasn’t just gotten more cyclists to ride and more New Yorkers to start riding.
In a statement, DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman said, “We took space away from cars to make walking and biking over the Brooklyn Bridge safer and easier than ever, and it has been a great success.”
Cycling advocates have been asking for a separate bike lane on the bridge’s promenade for a long time to make it safer for cyclists. Mayor Bill de Blasio had turned down the idea, but he changed his mind when many New Yorkers started riding bikes in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.
Since then, the bike boom has died down a bit, partly because New Yorkers are returning to the subways. But unfortunately, the new Brooklyn Bridge lane has gone against these trends. In the last two months, most people have crossed the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges simultaneously.
Jon Orcutt, in charge of advocacy at Bike New York, said, “It’s clear that the new bike path on the road makes East River bike trips better.” “People are reacting to a big change in the conditions for cycling.”
Studies have shown that putting bike lanes on the streets of European cities during the pandemic significantly impacted how many people rode bikes.
Most people thought the Brooklyn Bridge project was good, but cyclists didn’t like it because they thought the city should have built one-way lanes on each side of the bridge instead of putting a two-way path in a single car lane.