North Brooklyn Calls to Improve Grand Street Bike Lane for Bicycle Safety

Lever & Ecker, PLLC June 7, 2022 Personal injury

Brooklyn is no longer a bike-friendly city. According to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 2,122 injuries to bicyclists and nine bicyclists fatalities in Brooklyn in 2020. These numbers are the highest of the five New York boroughs, making Brooklyn the most dangerous borough for bicyclists. 

Residents have had enough. To reduce these numbers, Transportation Alternatives, a volunteer activists coalition, with support from several Brooklyn legislators and other concerned parties, has written an open letter to Mayor Adams and DOT Commissioner Rodriguez raising its concerns about bicycle safety along the Grand Street bike lane..

An Open Letter and Proposals

“The Grand Street bike lane has the potential to be an essential link between communities, but it needs protective jersey barricades and measures taken at each intersection to stop cars from entering the protected bike lane. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before the next preventable death,” the letter points out. 

The activists have urged the DOT to implement the promised bike lane changes and upgrade the Grand Street bike lane to a protected bike lane. The activist coalition further states the Grand Street bike lane fails to adequately satisfy the safety needs and standards of the community, as promised safety features were never actualized. The safety implementations proposed include: 

  • Allocated loading zones
  • An exclusive bus lane along Grand Street all the way to Williamsburg bridge
  • Hardy protective jersey barriers
  • Upgrading the bike lane entrances to eliminate double parking and construction equipment

So far, only plastic bollards have been erected, and they are ineffective at providing much-needed safety to bicyclists in Brooklyn. 

300 Miles of Protected Bike Lane in 100 Days

During his election campaign, Mayor Eric Adams promised to add up to 300 miles of protected bike lanes throughout the boroughs. When he got into office, he also committed to reinforcing 20 miles of bollard-protected bike lanes within the first 100 days in office.

Sadly, the mayor has not honored this commitment. Further, the DOT issued a statement indicating its plans to harden 20 miles of protected bike lanes by 2023, citing challenges of accessing jersey barriers as the reason for the delays. However, other bike lanes in other boroughs have undergone fortification, while others are a work in progress using 20-foot-long fortified cement jersey barriers. 

In December 2021, the DOT commissioner made it clear in a press conference that the agency plans to upgrade half of New York’s plastic-protected bike lanes. Transportation Alternatives executive director Danny Harris welcomed the plans, acknowledging it is a step closer to achieving much-needed safety for bicyclists and motorists. 

A Failed Bike Lane in Brooklyn

The open letter raises additional issues with the Grand Street bike lane. “From day one, the Grand Street bike lane has failed to keep people safe,” the letter states. “The implemented plastic delineators have not prevented vehicles or dumpsters from blocking the bike lanes. Illegal double parking in the bike lane creates a dangerous situation for both cyclists and motorists.”.

Despite the Grand Street bike lane being a vital piece of infrastructure in Brooklyn, the results have been anything but impressive or grand. Since implementing the bike lane in 2019, 67 bicyclists have been injured, not to mention the 196 crashes in total across multiple modes of transportation. Instead of hardy jersey barriers, the only protection bicyclists enjoy are plastic bollards that do little to ward off illegal parking and stopping of vehicles on the lane.

This endangers the bicyclists who are forced to move closer to the heavy Brooklyn traffic. If It is not the moving traffic, the cyclists also risk crashing into stationary vehicles illegally parked or those that stop on the lanes, such as delivery vans and commercial vehicles. Further, a recent crash report indicated that among other places to ride a bike in Brooklyn, Grand Street poses a real hazard for bicyclists. Additionally, the city’s Cycling in the City report shows the Grand Street bike lane is missing out on the city’s bike boom as bicyclists are moving to Pulaski and Williamsburg bridges and the Kent Avenue bike lane.

A Safety Hazard to Bicyclists in Brooklyn

As long as the DOT fails to implement the safety features that Transportation Alternatives has proposed, the Grand Street bike lane will continue to be a safety hazard for all bicyclists in Brooklyn. 

Since the plastic bollards are the exclusive safety features, the bicyclist’s risk:

  • Collision with pedestrians as the cyclists swerve to avoid vehicles or vehicle occupants opening doors.
  • Collision with vehicles 
  • Crashing into stationary objects, such as parked vehicles on the bike lane
  • Riding close to moving traffic risks being side swerved
  • Severe injuries such as fractured bones, head injuries, permanent disability, and facial damages, to name a few
  • Death

If you or a loved one have suffered a bicycle accident injury on the Grand Street bike lane or any other location in New York, it would be wise to consult a bicycle accident injury attorney at Lever & Ecker, PLLC

Speak With Dedicated Bicycle Accident Injury Attorneys 

Bicycle accidents are very often catastrophic, leaving you with a mountain of bills and lifelong injuries. In some instances, your minimum safety precautions, such as wearing helmets or cycling at the designated areas, aren’t enough to keep you safe. If you or a loved one sustains bicycle accident injuries while riding on designated bike lanes or other locations in New York, we can help.

At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, our award-winning New York attorneys take pride in offering unparalleled legal assistance to victims of bicycle accidents. Our 60+ years of combined legal experience give us the tools to fight for your rights to justice and compensation. To learn more about how we can represent you, contact us at (718) 933-3632, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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