Safe Cycling Initiative Launched on East Side by Council Member Ben Kallos: Public-Private Partnership Announced

New York, NY — A “Bike Safety” initiative is launching with a partnership between Council Member Ben Kallos’ office, the Department of Transportation, the New York Police Department (NYPD), Citi Bike (Motivate), Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York, Council Member Kallos announced today. The program kicks off in the warm weather months when more New Yorkers tend to cycle. 

In 2013, 4,269 cyclists were injured and 13 were killed in collisions with motor vehicles and 359 cyclists were injured and 1 killed in collisions on bicycles alone. That year, 316 pedestrians were injured and 1 was killed in collisions with cyclists, according to DOT data

On Tuesday, June 9, a 67-year-old woman named Mary Grace Belfi was struck by a cyclist who then fled the scene at 86th and First Avenue in the protected bicycle lane. She was severely injured.

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

  • Educating through distributing safety materials and safety equipment such as bells, lights and helmets; 
  • Training cyclists on safe practices and rules; and
  • Enforcing against unsafe behavior.

The Bike Safety program also contains the following actions:
Department of Transportation
•    Recreational cyclist education giving free lights with educational materials in bike lanes; 
•    Youth cyclist education coupled with free helmet giveaways; and
•    Commercial cyclist education with vest, light and bell giveaways for commercial owners and riders who participate in training.
New York Police Department (NYPD)
•    Auxiliary officers training and deployment to engage in traffic calming and free education on regulations for cyclists and motorists;
•    NYPD Bicycles purchased by Council Member Kallos for NYPD officers to improve enforcement of traffic regulations in bike lanes; and
•    Increased enforcement on cycling safety and respecting bike lanes by local precincts with support from Traffic Task Force.
Citi Bike (Motivate)
•    Free day membership for Citi Bike through Motivate and Bike New York for riders who participate in training on safe use of bike share.
Transportation Alternatives
•    Education and traffic calming in bike lanes by staff and member volunteers.
Bike New York
•    Street skills classes to educate children and adults on safe cycling and city laws.
•    Bicycling basics classes for children and adults to learn how to ride safely.

In 2014, Council Member Kallos surveyed 60,000 families to contribute information to a "Livable Streets" report on dangerous intersections and necessary street improvements. Because of the report, the Department of Transportation agreed to do Pedestrian Interval Studies at dangerous intersections, install a bus shelter and bike rack, and beautify streets.

Following the report, the DOT and NYPD also released a Vision Zero Borough Pedestrian Safety Plan for Manhattan, including priority corridors on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Ave as well as intersections from the report: Lexington Avenue and East 86th Street, 2nd Avenue and East 79th Street, East 75th Street and 1st Avenue, East 62nd Street and 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue and 57th Street, and 2nd Avenue and East 53rd Street.

 “The Bike Safe program will help all New Yorkers get where they are going safely—whether they are on a bike, on foot or in a car,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to all of my partners in promoting safe practices for East Siders as part of a larger Vision Zero effort.”

“DOT is proud to take part in such an important initiative with our partners at the NYPD, Bike NY and at Transportation Alternatives,” said NYC Department of Transportation Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “This initiative will not only help keep the increasing amount of cyclists that traverse this area of Manhattan safe but would also make streets safer for pedestrians and is in line with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan.”

"The 19th Precinct supports Councilman Kallos' bicycle initiative and looks forward to participating by conducting enforcement, traffic calming, and outreach," said Captain Ted Federoff, Executive Officer, 19th Precinct.

“Bike New York is proud to be New York City’s leading bike education organization, having taught New Yorkers the skills they need to ride safely and confidently on city streets for almost a decade. Making our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists will not only come from the legislation and enforcement of safe driving laws and continued implementation of proper infrastructure but also from responsible cycling practices. We're pleased to be able to offer an array of free bike classes in Council Member Kallos' district as a part of his Bike Safety Initiative, and we look forward to working with him further to ensure that our shared goal of Vision Zero is achieved," said  Ken Podziba, Bike New York's President & CEO.

Cycling safety classes from Bike New York will be offered at the following dates and locations:
Sunday June 21, Kids Bicycling Basics, 10am-1pm Roosevelt Island Capobianco Field
Wednesday July 8, Bike Commuting 101, 7:30-9pm at Bicycles NYC 1400 3rd Ave. 
Wednesday August 12, Street Skills Class, 7:30-9pm at Bicycles NYC 1400 3rd Ave. 
Wednesday September 9, Street Skills Class, 7:30-9pm at Bicycles NYC 1400 3rd Ave
Wednesday October 14, Street Skills Class, 7:30-9pm at Bicycles NYC 1400 3rd Ave.   
 
The Citi Bike education class will take place at the Office of Council Member Ben Kallos at 244 E 93rd Street on June 24 at 6:30p.m.

The auxiliary officers will offer education once a week in the month of June, focused on specific intersections along First Avenue. 

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