Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently announced “Green Wave” bicycle plan seeks to address a recent spate of cycling fatalities. This $58 million initiative will ramp up NYPD enforcement at the 100-most crash prone intersections, renovate 50 intersections with turn-calming treatments and re-design areas where fatalities occur.
The DOT has not yet disclosed which intersections will fall into these lists and will share more details as they become available, officials said. An earlier Vision Zero update from 2019 included lists of high-priority intersections focused only on pedestrian injury data and only through 2016. Home-search platform Localize.city has analyzed every intersection in NYC and evaluated the relative safety of each one based on bicycle injuries and fatalities, for a five-year period through 2018. To help New Yorkers understand what’s going on at the most dangerous intersections, Localize.city’s data scientists and urban planners analyzed what makes these intersections dangerous. Two recent cycling fatalities occurred at intersections considered to be among the most dangerous for NYC cyclists, one in Chelsea and one in Staten Island, according to Localize.city’s analysis.
“Experts and the city already know where the dangerous intersections are and what makes them so unsafe. Our job at Localize.city is to ensure all New Yorkers are informed,” says urban planner Sam Sklar of Localize.city. “If you’re thinking about taking up cycling you should know if the intersections and streets near your home are dangerous. If you’re moving and cycling is important to you, we want you to find a home that will be safe to cycle to and from.”
TOP 10 Intersections with most cycling injuries + fatalities, 2014-2018
1. 6th Avenue & W. 23rd Sreet, Chelsea, Manhattan
Despite 6th Ave. having a bike lane that’s protected by parking, the sheer volume of trucks, buses, bikes, cars and pedestrians makes cyclists at this intersection particularly vulnerable.
“Twenty-third street is wider than streets parallel to it, and it’s the main east-west route for delivery vehicles,” says Sklar.“This multiplies the risks. While not reflected in our data from 2014 to 2018, this intersection was the location of a fatal crash between a cyclist and a truck driver just last month.”
2 (Tied). Jay Street & Tillary Street, Downtown Brooklyn,Brooklyn
This is a crowded intersection along a key route for people cycling over the Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges. “While some bike lanes are marked, such a major bike route need to be protected with better marked lanes,” says Localize.city Urban Planner Dan Levine.
2 (Tied). Atlantic Avenue & Bedford Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn
“The bike lane on Bedford Avenue is not separated from traffic and is wedged between car-travel lanes. It’s unprotected on either side, and as riders cross the six-lane Atlantic Avenue, they’re expected to maneuver toward the curb. But often cars in a left turn lane actually turn back into traffic, creating a risk for cyclists,” says Sklar.
4. 3rd Avenue & E. 14th Street, East Village, Manhattan
New separated bike lanes along East 12th/East13th streets should offer a safer route, at least for cycling crosstown.
“Even with bike lanes on neighboring streets and avenues, the high number of crashes shows this is a route many riders are travelling,” says Levine.
5 (Tied). Chrystie Street & Delancey Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan
“Chrystie Street has a two-way bike lane, and the lane closest to traffic rides against traffic flow, which is a huge design flaw,” says Sklar. “It doesn’t help that Delancey Street is extremely wide, as it accommodates car and bus travel to and from the Williamsburg Bridge. Additionally there isn’t currently any bike lane on this stretch of Delancey Street.”
5 (Tied). St. Nicholas Avenue & W. 141st Street, Harlem, Manhattan
As one of the few places where a crosstown street crosses St.Nicholas Avenue, this intersection likely sees more turning cars and trucks, which can be especially dangerous for people on bikes.
“Bollards and better-marked crossings could help turning drivers see riders,” says Levine.
7 (Tied). Allen Street & E. Houston Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan
“Cyclists and drivers approaching this intersection often have obstructed views because of the width of East Houston Street, plus the width of East First Street along with obstructed views from street trees and bus traffic that potentially blocks views for drivers and cyclists,” says Sklar
7 (Tied). Graham Avenue & Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“On narrow, crowded, business-lined Grand Street, riders contend with double-parked cars and trucks and blocked bike lanes,” Levine says
7 (Tied). Jay Street & Myrtle Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn
A bike lane was added in 2016 to help shore up the commuter route along Jay Street
“It is physically separated from the auto traffic and is wider than a typical bike lane,” Sklar says, “ though buses do use the bike lanes, too.”
7 (Tied). Roebling Street & South 4th Street, Williamsburg,Brooklyn
13 injuries, 1 death
“Before 2017, the biking expressway over the Williamsburg Bridge ended at this chaotic intersection with poorly marked and inadequate bike lanes,” Levine says. “New protected lanes feeding to the bridge should make the route safer.”
Top intersections for injuries in The Bronx, Queens & Staten Island
58th Street & Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside
12 injuries tied for 14th most dangerous intersection in city
There’s no bike lane along either Roosevelt Avenue or 58th Street. Plus, traffic from Woodside Avenue connects with this intersection. “That adds in a wildcard element that makes traffic unpredictable,” Sklar says.
East 149th Street & Morris Avenue, Melrose
East 161st Street & Morris Avenue, Melrose
Both at 11 injuries, 16th overall in the city
There are no bike lanes on Morris Avenue or any nearby parallel avenues. “People on bikes are forced to fight through chaotic traffic to get to the businesses, schools, and apartments along this street,” Levine says.
Castleton Avenue & Clove Road, Port Richmond
3 injuries, 97th most dangerous
“This intersection is the site of a recent fatality this month. It is important to note that the city clearly encourages Clove Rd. as a bike route, because the way the street is painted to allow bikes and cars to share the lanes in either direction. But this lane isn’t separated or protected. It’s a shared lane,” says Sklar.