Bicyclists Voice Safety Concerns Over Highland Park Routes

Bicyclist safely passes signal. Photo credit: frantic/Shutterstock


Residents of Bushwick are asking for the creation of a safe bike lane to Highland Park, recognizing the need for improved cycling infrastructure along the route, particularly a safer way to travel by bike.

Many locals choose to bike to Highland Park since it’s a communal green space and a center for socializing. However, the proximity to the Jackie Robinson Highway has raised safety concerns among riders, who fear the potential risks of sharing the road with vehicular traffic.

The community’s desire to provide a safer and more convenient riding environment is reflected in the proposal of cycling advocates Transportation Alternatives for a designated bike lane. This would improve the overall commute experience to Highland Park and relieve concerns about maneuvering in crowded areas, according to the group Ridgewood Rides. In addition to offering locals a safe route, the project encourages healthy and environmentally friendly transit choices in the community.

“As someone who frequently travels to Highland Park, I truly wish the ride could be made safer,” said Justin Keesh, a local bike rider. “It’s essential for the community and visitors to feel secure while going through the area.”

Keesh has been going to Highland Park for 10 years and has found different ways to get there safely. Unfortunately, the most direct way to get to the park is to go to Cypress Avenue until you reach the three different highway lanes. Despite the convenience of this route, Keesh, like many others, has faced challenges with safety due to the lack of a dedicated bike lane. Despite these challenges, he remains committed to enjoying the beauty of Highland Park and actively seeking safer alternatives.

“What’s weird is that the park itself has a bike lane for rides to go through, but the ride there doesn’t. Not every car respects the riders, and because of this, I tend to skip busy hours for my own safety.”

A serious accident that occurred in the neighborhood last year was likely caused by Cypress Avenue’s lack of safe infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians. While trying to cross the street at the junction of Cypress Avenue and Cooper Avenue, a 57-year-old man was struck by two automobiles, both of which were inside the crosswalk.

Accident at Cypress Ave. intersection. Photo credit: Queens crap [sic]

The pedestrian was knocked to the pavement by the 40-year-old driver of a white Crossover SUV as it made a sharp left turn off Cooper Avenue. Then, a 62-year-old driver ran over the man while he was confused and shaking. He crushed the man’s whole body with his back wheels after driving over his head with his front left tire.

“Even while walking down Cypress, I try to skip that intersection, and if I can’t, I just wait for my turn. Many drivers just speed down the road and don’t realize that there are stop signs on all sides,” said Keech.

The timing of the signals at the intersection where the person was struck has only been slightly changed. Despite the fact that the change permits a four-way pedestrian crossing, no actual physical infrastructure upgrades have been made.

According to the New York City Department of Transportation, in April of this year steps were taken to expand bike infrastructure. The upcoming bike lane initiatives encompass various well-traveled routes, bridges, targeted investment zones in underserved communities, and creative bike boulevards. Measures to enhance safety involve installing durable cement Jersey Barriers and ongoing experimentation with novel materials along bike lanes across all five boroughs.