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Biking is booming in NYC -- but is the city doing enough to protect riders?

Have you been paying attention to the streets in New York City lately? If so, you have probably noticed more bike riders than ever before.

In fact, according to a recent report by The New York Times, city officials estimate that there are more than 450,000 bike trips in the city every day -- representing a 165 percent increase from 170,000 daily bike trips in 2005.

Given that about one in five bike trips is made by a commuter, New York streets can get particularly busy with cyclists during rush hours. For example, on Hoyt Street -- one of Brooklyn's busiest commuter streets -- bikes now outnumber cars, according to The New York Times article referenced above.

Quite simply, New York has become a major biking hub.

Could the city do more to protect cyclists?

While the number of bike trips has exploded in NYC, many wonder if the city is doing enough to protect the safety of these two-wheeled commuters. For instance, many biking advocates are pushing for the city to implement safer street designs, specifically more parking-protected bike lanes. Without properly designed bike lanes, cyclists are often forced to ride in traffic -- meaning they are more likely to get hit by cars and suffer serious injuries.

Unfortunately, the city has acted slower than many would like when it comes to bike lanes, often having to deal with stiff opposition from residents and various community groups.

But given the booming bike movement, as well as significant population growth, city officials acknowledge that expanding biking infrastructure is critical for New York City.

Hopefully, city officials hear the concerns of cyclists and act sooner rather than later to implement safer street designs -- otherwise the city may start having to take responsibility for bike accidents that occur.

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