What it means to ‘share the road’ in New York City

In our last post, we discussed the hazards that bicyclists and pedestrians face due to cars and trucks on New York City streets. Unfortunately, however, the dangers of travel in NYC are not limited to roads. Bicyclists and pedestrians share other large public spaces as well, including Central Park.

The fact of the matter is that New York is a city on the move, and it always has been. The New York Times Editorial Board recently referenced a news story from 1904 detailing a particularly gruesome chain-reaction crash involving the common modes of transportation at the time: Cars, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages as well as pedestrians.

Although getting around in New York has always been somewhat hazardous, we should not accept car accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents as inevitable. Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his ambitious “Vision Zero” campaign, and it is a challenge we should all strive to meet.

That being said, the NYT Editorial Board makes the good point that “in matters of traffic safety, all are equal, but pedestrians are more equal than others.” In short, this means that we all need to defer to the most vulnerable travelers among us. Drivers of trucks and cars need to vigilantly watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians, and bicyclists need to ride defensively and realize that pedestrians are even more vulnerable than they are.

New York City is a small space compared to the number of travelers who need to get around each day. As such, no one can shirk his or her responsibility for sharing the road and preventing accidents.

Source: The New York Times, “We’re Walkin’ Here!” Oct. 12, 2014

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