Feb. 22, 2018 By Tara Law
Cycling activists will lead a ride down Queens Boulevard next month to promote female bike riding and protected bicycle lanes.
The ride is timed to coincide with the DOT’s proposal for protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills as well as the DOT’s plan–now stalled–for lanes on Skillman and 43rd avenues in Sunnyside.
The ride will also promote women bike riders and the need to encourage more women to use bikes.
The 7-mile ride will begin at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City at 11 a.m. on March 25 and will conclude with a rally at the Women’s Plaza by Queens Borough Hall. The plaza is located at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard, close to where the proposed Queens Boulevard bicycle lane extension—known as phase IV of the Vision Zero program—will end.
The ride will start near the Queensboro Bridge and go up through Sunnyside along Skillman/43rd avenues, where the DOT announced plans to add protected bicycle lanes in November. After Sunnyside business owners and residents expressed opposition to the plans, the DOT halted the project.
Riders will also follow the new protected bike lanes along Queens Boulevard—from Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside to Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills. They will continue along the boulevard using the stretch between Yellowstone Boulevard and 80th Road where the DOT plans to install protected bicycle lanes as part of Phase IV.
The ride is being organized by the “Queens Bike Family,” a consortium of 15 biking and street safety organization including Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee. Both men and women are invited to ride.
Event organizer Laura Shepard, a Woodside resident who lived in Forest Hills until a few months ago, said that the organizers hope to combat the perception that only men bike. Shepard is a Transportation Alternatives volunteer, a regular bike rider and an advocate for protected bicycle lanes.
“Women, girls and gender-nonconforming people do ride,” said Shepard. “We want to show that women bike in the city.”
Shepard said that fewer women bike than men, and said that creating infrastructure— such as protected bike lanes—will encourage more women to ride bikes.
DOT statistics show that 35 percent of all bicyclists in New York are woman.
“It’s a matter of equity,” said Shepard. “Bikes are convenient, they’re environmentally friendly, they’re cost effective. It’s important that people of all abilities and all genders have access to these benefits.”
For more details, click here.