NYC bike safety challenges

In the couple of hours Fox 5 spent producing this report on cyclists and street safety, we saw countless close calls with bicyclists.

On the Upper West Side, a driver nearly hits the cyclists before he quickly swerves out of the way.  And there was one man on a bike who barreled through a group of pedestrians as they were crossing the street.

Riders we spoke with who take the 6th Avenue bike lane try to stay out of everybody's way.

So is New York a bike friendly city?

Caroline Samponaro is the deputy director at Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for safer streets. She says bike lanes are a great start but many of them need safety enhancements.

Look at this one on 6th Avenue, its right next to moving traffic versus this bike path Columbus Avenue, which has a protective barrier of parked cars. But that doesn't mean everyone uses it properly.

An NYPD officer was just honored for handing out a record number of tickets to unruly cyclists on the Upper West Side. Officer Joshua Vineck issued more than 1200 tickets to bikers between January 2012 and February 2015. It begs the question, why the increased enforcement? Is it part of mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero Plan?

Samponaro says ticketing bike riders isn't going to solve all the problems but agrees that bike riders need to follow the rules as well as drivers and pedestrians.

Everyone has an opinion on what it is going to take to make cycling safer in New York City. But I bet if cyclists, pedestrians and drivers follow the rules we would all be a little safe and could all get along.

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