Bike Safety Program Expands to Cover Midtown East Led by Council Members Kallos and Garodnick


Education, Giveaways and Enforcement by City Agencies and Non-Profits Enters Third Year of Improving Safety for Cyclists and Pedestrians

New York, NY — The Upper East Side’s “Bike Safety” program is expanding from 59th to 96th Street to Midtown East, bringing full coverage to the area from 30th Street to 96th Street. Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick are funding and coordinating education, safety equipment giveaways, and increased enforcement.

Since the summer of 2015, the Bike Safety program has succeeded in its goal of helping pedestrians and cyclists safely enjoy city streets, as covered by CBS, NBC, Our Town and amNY. Following last year’s Bike Safety program in August, the NYPD’s 19th Precinct reported a year-to-date 15% decrease in bike and pedestrian collisions.

The expansion to the Bike Safety program is the result of work by Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, the New York Police Department’s 17th and 19th Precincts (NYPD), the NYPD Transportation Bureau, the Department of Transportation, Citi Bike (Motivate), Transportation Alternatives, and Bike New York.

“New Yorkers will be safer whether they walk, bike or drive, as we work through education, incentives and increased enforcement for a safer city,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Council Member Garodnick for his leadership in expanding this program to the East Side and to each of our city and non-profits partners for doing their part to make our street safer for Vision Zero.”

"We need to do more to protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on the Upper East Side, and that is what this is about," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "I am proud that we are expanding this program and look forward to delivering these benefits to our community."

The program will supplement initial investments in safer transportation infrastructure by: 

Department of Transportation

  • Commercial bike safety training with vest, light and bell giveaways for more than 100 business owners and delivery cyclists who participate in the training following a canvas of local restaurants;
  • Bike lane distribution of more than 1,000 free light and bells for bike that don’t have them coupled with education;  and
  • Free bike helmets and fitting coupled with education for more than 1,000 cyclists.

New York Police Department (NYPD)

  • Auxiliary officers training and deployment to engage in traffic calming and free education on regulations for cyclists and motorists;
  • Patrol of bike lanes by NYPD officers on bicycles purchased by Council Members Kallos and Garodnick to improve enforcement of traffic regulations in bike lanes; and
  • Increased enforcement on bike safety and respecting bike lanes by 17th and 19th precincts with support from the NYPD Transportation Bureau’s Traffic Task Force.

Citi Bike (Motivate)

  • Free day pass, additional month on a yearly membership, or discount on a yearly membership for individuals who participate in a free monthly ninety minute safety class.

Bike New York

  • Street skills classes to educate children and adults on safe cycling and city laws offered at schools, government offices, and local bike shops; and
  • Bicycling basics classes for children and adults to learn how to ride safely in gymnasiums and public parks.

The Bike Safety Program was initially launched in 2014 with a focus on the area covered by the 19th Precinct and Council District 5. This year, the program will expand West and South to cover the entire 19th Precinct and the entire 17th Precinct, which overlap with Council Districts 4 and 5, spanning from East 30th all the way up to East 96th Street.

Following last year’s Bike Safety program, the NYPD’s 19th Precinct presented positive results, including a 52% increase in enforcement and a 15% decrease in bike and pedestrian collisions year-to-date as of August 2015. They also increased distribution of education safety materials, including 8,000 in August alone. The Department of Transportation also noted positive results, having given away 10,500 bells and 10,100 lights since the inception of their program in 2008, including hundreds on the Upper East Side.

“As more New Yorkers choose bicycles to travel around the city for work or play, NYC DOT is committed to providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to ride safely,” said Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “Council Members Kallos and Garodnick are tremendous supporters of our efforts to educate and equip cyclists, and we are thrilled to partner with them and the New York Police Department to make our streets safer for all users.”

“The New York City Police Department welcomes the geographical expansion of the Upper East Side’s ‘Bike Safety’ program. The City Council’s commitment to the inter-agency Vision Zero initiative, and the traffic safety efforts by all of our vision zero partners, have resulted in demonstrably safer streets. It is anticipated this bicycle safety effort promoted by Councilmembers Kallos and Garodnick will serve to enhance those achievements even further.” said Chief Thomas Chan, NYPD’s Transportation Bureau.

"Being home to one of the most robust populations of cyclists in New York City, bicycle safety is something that is naturally taken very seriously here on the Upper East Side. The men and women assigned to the 19th Precinct are proud to play an integral role in the Bike Safety program—a proactive initiative that seeks to reduce bicycle-related collisions and enhance the quality of life for all of our residents here on the Upper East Side." said Captain Bryan D. Natale Executive Officer, NYPD’s 19th Precinct.

“The 17th Precinct is excited to join the Bicycle Safety Program for 2016, as we are home to one of the most utilized Bicycle Routes in the city. Our goal is to educate cyclist and motorist alike regarding the importance of sharing the road and making safety their first and foremost priority, behind the wheel and “behind the bars “(handle bars of course!). said Executive Officer, Captain Martha Doble NYPD’s 17th Precinct.

“Educated cyclists are safer cyclists—which is why bicycle education is a cornerstone not only of Bike New York’s mission to make cycling a safe and sustainable means of transportation and recreation, but of Vision Zero as well,” said Ken Podziba, President & CEO of Bike New York. “We look forward to expanding our Street Skills and Bicycling Basics classes to kids and adults in Midtown East as a part of this Bike Safety initiative with Council Members Kallos and Garodnick.”

“More New Yorkers than ever before are using Citi Bike to get around,” said Jay Walder, President & CEO of Motivate. “We want our riders to be safe and respectful and we’re thrilled to partner with Bike New York to offer free Citi Bike Street Skills classes. We’re grateful to Councilmember Kallos for all he is doing to help us make sure community members who want to build their safety knowledge and urban riding confidence are aware of this great resource. Whether you’re already a Citi Bike member and want to build your skills, or considering joining but need some support, these classes are free and open to all.” 

“We thank Council members Garodnick and Kallos and the NYPD’s 17th and 19th Precincts for this initiative to make our streets safer for everyone who uses them,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, whose organization helped design the Bike Safety program. “As cycling becomes more and more established as part of New York City’s transportation system, it’s essential that the growing network of bike lanes remain clear of motor vehicles, so cyclists can be protected from dangerous traffic.”

“Teens and Tweens are especially important to target for bike safety,” says Carol Crump, co-founder of StreetsAcademy, whose online VisionHero program reaches this audience in middle schools with DOT’s Division of Education and Safety Outreach. “Traffic crashes are the No.1 cause of injury-related fatality in children 14 and under, and we need to prevent this hurt.”

The Citi Bike education class will take place at the Office of Council Member Ben Kallos at 244 East 93rd Street on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6pm.

The 17th Precinct, 19th Precinct, NYPD Auxiliaries, and DOT will coordinate education and enforcement on multiple occasions over the summer. 

The program will conclude with a final forum in August with the results.

Additional Press Contacts:

New York Police Department: Deputy Commissioner, Public Information, 646-610-6700

Department of Transportation: Scott Gastel, SGastelatdot [dot] nyc [dot] gov, 212-839-4850

Citi Bike (Motivate): Dani Simons, danisimonsatmotivateco [dot] com, 347-916-0215

Transportation Alternatives: Brian Zumhagen, brian [dot] zumhagenattransalt [dot] org, 917-744-2397

Bike New York: Samuel Polcer, sslatonatbike [dot] nyc, 212-870-2085