Why Bikers in New York City Are Demanding Safer Conditions

Cyclists in a bike lane
Getty Images

The death of a biker in New York City has become a rallying cry for cyclists demanding safe conditions and more respect on the road.

Robyn Hightman, who went by the pronouns they and them, was working as a bike messenger on Sixth Avenue Monday morning when they were hit and killed. They had just recently moved to the city and were very active in the cycling community.

Hightman was an ambassador for Hagens Berman Supermint Pro Cycling Team, and the organization remembered them in a Facebook post.

"We are left with ... another harsh reminder of a reality of cycling: the roads are not a safe place for us and we all must work harder to change that. ... Every single person that rides a bike needs to care about safety and survival on the roads. Our lives depend on it," the post read.

They were the 12th cyclist killed in New York City in 2019, Gothamist reported.

Now, fellow bikers are outraged over the death of another one of their own. Some have taken to the streets and lashed out at vehicles that get in their way. Video shows some cyclists smashing headlights and beating down on cars.

Cyclists and others gathered in Sixth Avenue to mourn Hightman Monday evening, chanting, "Stop killing us."

Though Sixth Avenue has a bike lane in the area where Hightman was struck, police said they were not in the bike lane at the time of the incident.

Still, some bikers say those lanes aren't as safe as they appear. At the Monday evening vigil, an attendee took a picture of a police vehicle parked in the bike lane, blocking bicycle traffic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is working on keeping bikers safe.

“We do not take it lightly, we have to keep fighting with everything we’ve got,” de Blasio told NY1. “More enforcement, more bike lanes, which are on the way — a whole host of things.”

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