By Ranaan Geberer
Transportation Alternatives, the well-known advocacy organization for bicycling, walking and mass transit, is asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to appoint the city’s first-ever “bike mayor,” who would serve as a liaison between city government and the growing number of bicyclists in the five boroughs.
According to Transportation Alternatives, “the protected bike lane network is not growing fast enough to keep up with demand” and “an influx of people on two wheels is coming with the expansion of Citi Bike and the impending legislation of e-bikes and scooters.”
Safety concerns are also high on the list of bicyclists’ complaints. Just one week into the new year, TA says, two people have been killed while biking on city streets. Also, late last year, two cyclists were killed while riding on New York City streets. While the number of bike lanes has increased, many of these lanes are not adequately protected against incursions by motorists.
Although the idea is little-known in the U.S., bike mayors have been appointed in cities around the globe, including Sydney, Mexico City, São Paulo and Amsterdam, according to TA.
Anna Luten, who served as Amsterdam’s bike mayor from June 2016 until November 2017, said, “A bike mayor in New York would be instrumental for making it safer to ride a bike, which will lead to more people on bikes, less congestion and a smoother ride for everyone. The bike mayor can take the lead in building meaningful campaigns to spread the right message towards all road users.”
An estimated 1.6 million New Yorkers ride a bike at least once a month, TA says. Currently, Keene, New Hampshire, is the only U.S. municipality with a bike mayor.