Bicyclists beware: many are fearing for the future of their commute with bike-friendly Bloomberg set to leave office at the end of the year. Cyclists are apprehensive over current mayoral candidates’ views on bike-lanes and road laws. As the New York Times recently reported, aspiring mayors have met these questions with a measured avoidance. Some candidates have outright declared to reduce the number of bike lanes, dismissing their necessity. According to Democratic candidate Chris Quinn, bike lanes have joined a long list of off-limits dinner table topics among New York politicians.
Last week, both Quinn and rival Bill De Blasio drew media scorn for their comments regarding how bike lanes were implemented. Quinn claims, “one of the problems with bike lanes has been not the concept of them, which I support, but the way the Department of Transportation has implemented them without consultation with communities and community boards.”
This sentiment has been criticized as a roundabout way of saying “we don’t need all these bikes lanes.” Critics also point out the DOT’s substantial community outreach in implementing and planning.
De Blasio has since release a reactionary statement to remediate his support. “I fully support bike lanes and I want to see them continue to expand around the city. They are clearly making many NYC streets safer. But I think we need to take an approach different from the Mayor’s. While more and more communities and riders want bike lanes, the City still hasn’t come around to proactively engaging those who are concerned by them.”
Still, these statements, and the criticism and coverage they have met, is embodied as a sign of progress by many cyclists. The publicity the issue has received spells of public concern. With the new bike-sharing system set to roll out in May, these issues are only to become more relevant as New York hopes to gain a significant ridership increase.