By Ali Bauman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City has spent years creating protected bike lanes for the growing number of cyclists, but riders say many of them are completely useless and dangerous, thanks to construction and cars.

Video from an East Village mother shows her child cycling to school this week, forced into the middle of the street because construction was blocking the bike lane.

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She wrote, “I wonder why more kids don’t ride a bicycle to school when they have a protected BikeNYC lane to go there.”

“It would be nice to have a protected one where we could, in fact, bike,” East Village resident Alexis Adler told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

There are more than 570 miles of protected bike lanes across New York City.

Residents say construction equipment has been blocking one lane along East 12th Street by Avenue A for months, and it’s just one of many protected bike lanes in the area that is dangerously littered with illegal obstacles.

“You feel like, oh, I’m in the bike lane, and then all of a sudden, the bike lane ends and there’s oncoming traffic,” Adler said.

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“I’ve had a few incidents where I’ve sort of bounced off of cars once or twice,” East Village resident Adam Farmerie said.

Cycling has boomed in the city during the pandemic with commuters like Wendy Dhang switching for a healthier alternative to subways or buses, but she finds many protected lanes on her route are actually impassible.

“It’s blocked either by car or by the construction. That bothers me a lot because I have to turn, and when I turn to go outside the lane, it’s very dangerous,” Dhang said.

The Department of Transportation says it has updated the city’s permit language “to hold contractors accountable who do not maintain bike lane access in construction zones.”

After CBS2 asked the city about the bike lane in the East Village, the DOT came to inspect and issued a summons to the construction company for being non-compliant with its permit.

“Free up this territory for better usage,” Adler said.

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Cyclists are asking the city protect what are supposed to be their protected lanes.

Ali Bauman