NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Drivers in Queens say new bike lanes continue to cause crashes.

CBS2 first covered the problem last month, but no changes have been made the crashes keep happening, Dave Carlin reports.

On Friday night, one driver was left hanging on a concrete barrier to protect the city’s newest bike lanes.

“Very, very dangerous. Very, very dangerous,” Bayside resident Tommy Santagato said.

They were installed in September on busy Northern Boulevard between Douglaston Parkway and the Cross Island.

Some drivers say the bike lanes come out of nowhere as three lanes become two. Time and time again, cars have wound up straddling the barriers. So far, there have been no serious injuries.

“You’re coming off an exit of a highway right into a bike lane. That makes no sense to me,” said Santagato.

“This section of Northern Boulevard at rush hour was a nightmare before the bike lane went in. Now it’s even worse,” Democratic New York State Sen. Tony Avella, of Queens, said.

Last month, Avella showed CBS2 the bike lanes that he now wants scrapped. His office is compiling accident reports from both police and residents.

In the last eight weeks, there have been more than 10 accidents, Carlin reported. Some residents say at least put in warning signs.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said reflective tape and orange barrels now make the lanes easier to see and additional signs are likely to be added soon.

Some bike riders who say they now feel safer think drivers are to blame.

“If you don’t see it, you’re not looking. Let’s be honest here,” Oakland Gardens resident Ravi Etwarro said.

“In the letter I wrote to the mayor and Polly Trottenberg at DOT, I said, ‘you’re personally responsible at this point for every accident that happens,’” Avella said.

The state senator and others in the community want a re-design.

“Put the bike lane on an extended sidewalk,” he suggested.

That would mean moving the bike lanes to what is now DOT and city parkland. The option was studied and rejected as too expensive.

But also expensive are car repairs and potential injuries, or worse, when drivers miss the merge.

A DOT spokesperson said the bike lanes are a direct response to a cyclist being killed on Northern Boulevard. The main goal, according to the DOT, is keeping cyclists safe along the busy route.

Comments (4)
  1. I agree with the other commenters. Inattentive drivers seem to be the problem here, not the barriers. I would rather bad drivers hit the barriers instead of cyclists. If speed coming off the exit ramp is an issue, then the city should put in a stop sign at the end of the off-ramp, and/or speed advisories on the ramp.

  2. John Craver says:

    Holy cow! Some people should have their licenses revoked, given the level of skill exhibited. If you can’t “see” a giant concrete barrier, you’ll never see a cyclist. Now, you only damage your car and you’re not killing someone.

  3. I pilot both a car and a bike along this route regularly.

    These “accidents” are happening because speeding drivers try to use the right lane as a passing lane. They see no cars in front of them, hit the gas, then get surprised when the lane ends because they’re distracted by their phone or the radio or some other dashboard toy. The bike lanes are clearly marked and any driver actually paying attention to their driving and the road in front of them couldn’t possibly miss them or the concrete barrier or the need to merge left before getting that far. It doesn’t help that many drivers ignore the stop sign at the merge points of the highway exit onto westbound Northern Blvd.

    The new bike lane is having basically no effect on congestion even during rush hours. Most of Northern Blvd is two lanes in each direction. The space being taken by the bike lane was a third lane that, as noted above, was used by impatient drivers as a right-hand passing lane. There is no third lane once a driver gets a block past the highway merge anyway as that all becomes parking spaces adjacent to the roadside businesses.

  4. Chris says:

    There is a clear error in your story: the bike lanes aren’t the problem; bad drivers are.

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