Because of Covid-19 record numbers of New Yorkers are getting behind their handlebars and choosing cycling to get around the city. In March Citi Bike reported a 67% increase in ridership from the same time period last year, a surge in DOT bike counts was reported at the East River Bridges, and selling bikes so quickly they can hardly keep enough in stock.
Biking has proven to be a great way to get around while maintaining social distance guidelines and simultaneously getting some exercise and (probably much needed) fresh air. However, biking in New York City requires caution, here are a few tips to make sure that your ride is as safe as can be.
Haven’t ridden in a while? Make sure to inspect your bike before you get on it to make sure it’s safe to ride. The most foolproof way to inspect your bike is to bring it to a bikeshop to get a tune up (which good maintenance practices advise getting at least once a year), but if you don’t have time or don’t live near a bike shop do an ABC Quick Check. The ABC Quick Check is a four step quick and easy process to ensure all the essential components of your bike are working and safe. Check out this instructional video from the Active Transportation Alliance to learn how to do the ABC Quick Check.
ABC Quick Check Diagram (Denver Trips for Kids)
Make sure you’re equipped with proper safety equipment including a helmet that properly fits, lights and reflectors, and a bell (in the age of Covid, you probably want to bring a mask and hand sanitizer too).
Remember to follow the rules of the road. Make sure to follow traffic signals, yield to pedestrians, and signal to cars and other cyclists when turning. Click here for a more comprehensive list of rules assembled by our friends at Transportation Alternatives
Stick to bike lanes when you can.
While riding a bike in the street is legal when there’s no bike lane present, it’s always safer to stick to bike lanes when you can, especially if you’re a new or inexperienced rider. Look your route up in advance and familiarize yourself with NYC’s bike network. Remember–NYC Open Streets are open to cyclists too and as part of the initiative some new temporary bike lanes have been created as well. To view the 2020 NYC Bike Map,click here, and for a list of NYC’s Open Streets, click here.
For a more comprehensive list of bike safety tips click here to view NYCDOT’s Bike Smart guide.