For pedestrians and automobile riders’, cyclists have become a ubiquitous sight on the streets of New York City. In recent years more and more Americans, adults and children alike prefer to commute with a bicycle than any other mode of transport. According to a 2017 national cycling demographic report, an estimated three-quarter of a million (778,000) residents bike regularly. It is no surprise that Mayor Bill de Blasio envisions the big apple to double the number of riders and transform it into a world-class bicycling city by 2020. “In 2016, we fulfilled our pledge to grow Citi Bike, a sustainable transit option, to a range of more diverse Manhattan and Brooklyn communities from upper Manhattan to Red Hook” said the Mayor. In a report conducted by Transportation Alternatives (TransitAlt) “BikeNYC 2020” envisions every New Yorker to live ¼ mile of a protected bike lane by 2020. With the expansion of high quality bicycle routes adjacent to city lines, greenway paths in public parks, and the implementation of Citi Bike in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, New York City’s active role in promoting cycling to locals and tourists comes equipped with concerns about safety.
Research indicates a revelatory trend that with the increase of bicycles on the road, a spike in cyclists’ deaths and injuries have multiplied across the nation. In the city, about 91% of cyclists have encountered potholes, bad pavement, worn-out lane markings, and aggressive drivers with 62% demanding more protected bike lanes. This past June two cyclist fatalities happened in the same week and vicinity after a charter bus had struck and killed them in Manhattan.
Concern for safety is not limited to New York. In Michigan, according to the latest data from the Michigan State Police, cycling fatalities have risen 57 percent in 2015. To ensure bike rider safety, the Detroit Department of Planning and Development embarked on a 13-year infrastructure plan to ensure safer conditions for non-drivers. In Baltimore, one of the most heavily biked routes witnessed the tragic death of a 20-year-old cyclist who was struck by a hit-and-run-driver and then killed after being hit by a second vehicle.
While a growing network of bike lanes and redesigned streets is promising for social, economic, and environmental reasons, it may take several years to complete in major American cities. Greater attention is necessary to eliminate the fear of sharing and competing on the road with vehicles and vice versa
The unpredictability of vehicles, pedestrians, roads, and traffic alongside effective bike safety programs should be given priority when devising technological solutions to enhancing bike safety. Spearheading an initiative to encourage a national movement of cycling, Ouvos is committed to making riders feel confident and safe while sharing the road with other vehicles. In its community-based approach, Ouvos enables users to report problems and send real-time notifications regarding hazards, best alternative routes, dangerous intersections, road conditions and roads with bike lanes.