That news won’t likely come as a surprise to many New Yorkers, who now routinely see bikes outnumbering cars on some streets during rush hour. A generation ago, a person on a bike was almost by definition an outlier who defied the norm (and maybe common sense, given the city’s chaotic traffic culture). Today, it’s not unusual to see parents calmly riding their kids to school before they head off to work themselves on two wheels.
But while the colorful chart released by the DOT shows ridership is still going up, reaffirming New York’s place as one of the nation’s top cities for people who ride bikes, advocates note that progress has actually slowed over the last few years. They point to a need for expanded high-quality bike infrastructure if the city has any chance of meeting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s stated goal of increasing bike trips to 6 percent of total trips in the city by 2020.
“It’s not as hot as it could be if the city were building out the bike network with high-quality bike lanes,” says Paul Steely White, executive director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “This year, the city built five miles of protected lanes—that’s on par with Minneapolis. There need to be 30 to 40 miles per year.”