By Phineas Rueckert
Astoria, Flushing and Elmhurst were the Queens neighborhoods with the most bike crashes in 2019, according to data from NYC Crash Mapper, a tool developed by Chekpeds, a pedestrian advocacy organization.
Between January and June, 34 cyclists were involved in crashes in Astoria, compared to 32 in Flushing and 31 in Elmhurst, the data shows.
Two of the 15 cyclists killed by cars this year in New York City — including three cyclists killed last week — were riding through Queens. That total is already higher than all of last year, when 10 cyclists were killed. Twenty-four cyclists were killed in 2017, according to Department of Transportation statistics.
The city is on pace to record its highest cyclist death toll in a decade.
NYC Crash Mapper showed a total of 349 incidents involving cyclists between January and June of this year in Queens — far lower than Brooklyn, which had 682.
In March, Robert Spencer, 53, was hit by a car while biking in Long Island City. Another cyclist was killed on Queens Boulevard this year, according to NYC Crash Mapper.
Advocates are pushing the city to expand the bike lane network and introduce other safety measures to protect cyclists. Queens has over 200 miles of bike lanes, compared to 240 miles in Brooklyn.
Juan Restrepo, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, said that bicycle advocates were focusing their efforts on two priority streets in Queens: Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard.
“We feel that the city has not been following through with enough urgency,” Restrepo said. He called for a “much more dramatic redesign” of Northern Boulevard, which he said was the “new Boulevard of Death,” referring to the grim nickname formerly applied to Queens Boulevard.
In a statement last week, Transportation Alternatives called for the DOT to create an “emergency plan worthy of this crisis that can be implemented as soon as possible.”
The DOT has said that it plans to release a new cyclist safety plan later this month.