However, one unexpected side effect of the growing interest in cycling is the growing anger of NYC drivers who must now share the road with them. In fact, the number of instances of road rage between car drivers and cyclists has ballooned in the past twelve months leading city officials to attempt to find a solution. However, their efforts to create more cycling lanes in order to make more room for the two-wheeled riders has only made some drivers even more angry that their precious space is being taken away from them.
As drivers and cyclists fight over turf, others in New York City are still trying to find common ground to unite them all and keep the ‘road rage’ to a minimum.
Once the province of aggro bike messengers and pressed-for-time deliverymen, cycling has gone mainstream in much of New York City. More than twice as many New Yorkers commuted to work by bike in 2011 than in 2006 — to nearly 20,000 — while the number of New Yorkers who ride their bike daily increased by more than 13% over just the past two years. And much of that two-wheeled growth is due to the surprisingly bike friendly policies of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his aggressive transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. More than 290 miles of new bike lanes have been built since Bloomberg took over in 2002 — altogether there are more than 700 miles — including new routes physically separated from the streets in main arteries like Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue. “Between 2 and 2.5% of all vehicle miles traveled in the entire city of New York is by bike,” says Charles Komanoff, a New York-based transport analyst. “That’s five or six times what it was 30 years ago.”