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Queens Residents Say New Bike Lanes Continue To Cause Accidents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Drivers in Queens say new bike lanes continue to cause crashes.

CBS2 first covered the problem last month, but no changes have been made the crashes keep happening, Dave Carlin reports.

On Friday night, one driver was left hanging on a concrete barrier to protect the city's newest bike lanes.

"Very, very dangerous. Very, very dangerous," Bayside resident Tommy Santagato said.

They were installed in September on busy Northern Boulevard between Douglaston Parkway and the Cross Island.

Some drivers say the bike lanes come out of nowhere as three lanes become two. Time and time again, cars have wound up straddling the barriers. So far, there have been no serious injuries.

"You're coming off an exit of a highway right into a bike lane. That makes no sense to me," said Santagato.

"This section of Northern Boulevard at rush hour was a nightmare before the bike lane went in. Now it's even worse," Democratic New York State Sen. Tony Avella, of Queens, said.

Last month, Avella showed CBS2 the bike lanes that he now wants scrapped. His office is compiling accident reports from both police and residents.

In the last eight weeks, there have been more than 10 accidents, Carlin reported. Some residents say at least put in warning signs.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said reflective tape and orange barrels now make the lanes easier to see and additional signs are likely to be added soon.

Some bike riders who say they now feel safer think drivers are to blame.

"If you don't see it, you're not looking. Let's be honest here," Oakland Gardens resident Ravi Etwarro said.

"In the letter I wrote to the mayor and Polly Trottenberg at DOT, I said, 'you're personally responsible at this point for every accident that happens,'" Avella said.

The state senator and others in the community want a re-design.

"Put the bike lane on an extended sidewalk," he suggested.

That would mean moving the bike lanes to what is now DOT and city parkland. The option was studied and rejected as too expensive.

But also expensive are car repairs and potential injuries, or worse, when drivers miss the merge.

A DOT spokesperson said the bike lanes are a direct response to a cyclist being killed on Northern Boulevard. The main goal, according to the DOT, is keeping cyclists safe along the busy route.

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