Batey: Find a safe balance for cyclists, walkers and drivers

NYC often gets a bad rep for being too busy, too important, too crowded.

There’s a reason why many people say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

But can you make it out unscathed?

Bicycling magazine recently named New York City as the most bike-friendly city in the nation. But I think that to keep that top distinction, the city must find a happy balance for both cyclists and pedestrians.

The Department of Transportation has increased the number of bike lanes in the city, but we still experience too many cyclist-pedestrian accidents. They can be tragic.

Last month, a 58-year-old mother was struck in Central Park by a bicyclist and died. In August, a bicyclist swerved into a running lane to avoid a pedicab in the park, and struck a 75-year-old teacher, who died a few days later.

As NYC’s cycling population burgeons, it’s the collective duty of all — utility cyclists (delivery workers and messengers), cycling clubs (recreational cyclists) and commuters — to be better educated about our surroundings.

The next step for the DOT should be to launch a proper education and safety campaign to nurture a bicycling culture based on mutual respect among cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.

Given that 62 percent of Americans own a bike — according to Spinlister’s survey — New Yorkers and tourists should be informed on how best to travel the city’s congested roads.

Overall, we need a coordinated effort between the DOT and the NYPD to monitor intersections to promote safe cycling by properly ticketing cars parked and motorists driving in bike lanes.

Most of all, it needs to be clear that no one can idly navigate our roads without taking into account their surroundings (heads-up from the cellphone!).

From locals bicycling to work to tourists renting bikes to navigate the city, it’s crucial that we all know about the best routes, possible hazards and our responsibilities.

Only then can we make biking safer in the New York City.

Andrew Batey is chief marketing officer of Spinlister, a peer-to-peer global bike share in more than 100 countries.

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