Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced the designation with Bicycling Magazine’s editor Bill Strickland and publisher Zachary Grice. The magazine highlights DOT’s efforts to engineer safer streets for bicyclists, as well as its continued investments in infrastructure.
The publication last ranked U.S. cities nationwide in 2012, at which time New York came in seventh place. The jump in the rankings shows a transformation to a bike-friendly city, with 342,000 bike trips happening every day in New York, Trottenberg explained.
“As Bicycling Magazine notes, New York has — against all odds — embraced and has been transformed by a mode of transportation which is inexpensive, burns no fuel, emits no carbon, helps tackle obesity, connects people to their communities and let’s face it, brings joy,” Trottenberg said. “New Yorkers love to cycle and they bring an energy and passion that only this city can produce.”
DOT also released a new report that shows that protected bike paths, which separate bikers from motor vehicle lanes, actually make streets safer for all street users.
The study is the most comprehensive of its kind in the U.S. and contains an analysis of three years of crash data before and after the installation of over seven miles of protected bike paths. The data shows that protected bicycle paths caused a 20 percent decline in the number of injuries sustained by all street users.
These encouraging numbers have led to DOT committing to adding five miles of protected paths each year. In 2014, over two miles of protected paths have been added in a number of neighborhoods, such as Canarsie in Brooklyn.
As it stands, New York has over 900 miles of bike lanes across the five boroughs, but the quadrupling of bike ridership in the city since 2002 means that DOT is looking to expand that mileage significantly.
This year, DOT is on track to add over 58 bike miles lanes, a large number of which will be in Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn, as well as Long Island City and Ridgewood in Queens.
Besides bike paths, DOT has worked hard to increase bike parking, with 21,300 bike racks installed around the city.
And for those who have no place for their own bike in their shoebox studio apartment, New York boasts the title of the largest city in America to have a bike-share program with the adoption of Citi Bike in May of 2013. Last week, New Yorkers surpassed 12 million trips on Citi Bike since its launch.
All of these factors were taken into account when New York was considered for the country’s top city for bicyclists, Strickland said.
“Since Bicycling’s 2012 ranking, the cycling landscape in New York City has undergone a radical transformation,” he said. “More than 96,000 annual members subscribe to the nation’s largest bike share, and over 350 miles of new bike lanes have finished installation under former Mayor Bloomberg.
“Newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly vowed that by 2020 bicycling trips will double citywide,” he added. “The dedication by advocates, cyclists, and the DOT to making NYC streets safe for riding has landed NYC deservedly at the top of our list.”