Queens needs better bike lanes

If listening to DOT spokespeople has taught us anything, it’s that “jersey barriers” and “baffle walls” are the appropriate lingo to use for a cement barrier.

It is something that Transportation officials really need to consider with regards to the “protected bike lanes,” because it’s apparent they are not very well protected at all.

Creating an interborough bike network is a fantastic idea, but DOT really needs to weigh its options when it comes to the implementation because there are some serious issues with some major thoroughfares in Queens.

For instance, placing bike lanes along Queens Boulevard really needs to be reexamined. They seem out of place along “the Boulevard of Death,” without some sort of physical buffer between the street traffic and bike traffic.

They have concrete dividers between cyclists and drivers in places like Downtown Brooklyn and parts of Lower Manhattan, where they have proven to be effective.

Earlier this year, DOT announced plans to fortify these delineated bike lanes, but thus far little has been done to deploy jersey barriers in Queens, with the first half of the project focused on Manhattan.

However, at other locations like Cooper Avenue in Glendale or Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, there is literally nothing separating cyclists and motorists whatsoever. Just a few painted lines signifying where the lanes begin and end.

The way the “protected” bike lanes are currently situated poses a serious hazard to both motor vehicle operators and cyclists. The existing plastic road dividers do little to nothing to stop a speeding vehicle from charging into the pathway.

With the added use of e-bikes and scooters, these already busy thoroughfares have become even more treacherous for pedestrians. Dozens of irresponsible cyclists and drivers will blow through red lights, zip through pedestrian crosswalks at excessive speed, and sometimes people will even pop up onto the sidewalks.

To make matters worse, on any given day, there are guaranteed to be a few motorcycles and moped riders jumping in and out of the bike lanes in order to evade vehicular traffic patterns.

State traffic laws do allow for e-bikes and scooters to use the designated bike lanes, but they do not allow mopeds, motorcycles, ATVs, or any other form of vehicle that are required to be registered with the DMV.

Even though operating these vehicles in the bike lane is a violation, law enforcement doesn’t seem to be doing much to prevent this from happening. This is why people continue to do it.

Without penalties, people think its perfectly acceptable to drive their 40 mph mopeds in and out of the lanes and onto the sidewalks, not realizing that they’re still going fast enough to cause serious harm to cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.

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