After Councilman Dominic Recchia called Bay Ridge Parkway “too narrow” for a bike lane, we called him a lunatic because you literally have to have lost your connection to reality to consider this extra-wide street “narrow”; if Bay Ridge Parkway, with its two lanes of two-way traffic plus two lanes of parking and enough space to double park a car, is too narrow for a bike lane, every street in New York City is too narrow.
Luckily, support for this much-needed bike lane—which would stretch from Shore Road to Bay Parkway, from Bay Ridge to Bensonhurst—resurfaced last week, when community board transportation committee member Bob Cassara called for the department of transporation to paint a “shared route” lane on the extra-wide avenue, the Brooklyn Paper reports. That would be a start.
Southern and central Brooklyn are in desperate need of more bike-riding infrastructure. A look at the bike lane map reveals a spider-web of routes in the North, and next to nothing in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend and Flatbush—and nothing running from east to west.
Why is this a problem? Well, imagine if someone lived in Bay Ridge and wanted to ride their bike to classes at Brooklyn College. There’s no safe route for them to take, leaving them to bike down, say, Fort Hamilton Parkway, where a cyclist was killed by a car in a hit-and-run accident just last week. My girlfriend rode her bicycle by the intersection where he died earlier that very day: a car drove slowly right alongside her, shouting at her for riding a bike while he created a dangerous traffic situation for the other cars, bikes and pedestrians all around him.
What bike lane opponents don’t seem to understand is that, while it may be inconvenient, even annoying, for drivers to look out for bicyclists on the road, bicyclists are literally dying all the time because of careless motorists. The same is not true vice versa. What bike riders want are lanes to help protect them from these drivers. To say no is to tell your neighbors you don’t care if they die, literally die, because you don’t feel like driving more slowly.