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City Announces Major Bike Safety Improvement Initiative

    • Two Hundred Miles Of New Bike Facilities Will Built In The Next Three Years.
    • Releases Detailed Report On Bicycle Injuries And Fatalities.
    • Changes Are Result Of Unprecedented Inter-Agency Collaboration Between Departments Of Transportation, Health, Parks And Police.

The press conference is underway right now in at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Here are verbatim portions of the City's press release and a response from Transportation Alternatives. Stay tuned for more news and analysis:

New York City Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall today joined Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to announce a series of unprecedented bicycle safety improvements, including the addition of 200 miles of new on-street bicycle facilities (paths, lanes and routes) over the next three years. The agencies also announced the release of a joint report describing the factors that contributed to the deaths and serious injuries of bicyclists over the past decade.

The joint report issued today, Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City 1996-2005, examines factors that contributed to the deaths of 225 bicyclists during the past decade and the serious injuries of 3,462 bicyclists between 1996 and 2003. The full report will be available right here (PDF file).

"The ambitious target we've set for the next three years will complete the backbone of the City's planned bicycle network," said Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

The 200 miles of new on-street bicycle facilities will include vehicle-free bike paths, on-street striped lanes and signed routes. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will install 40 miles in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, which began July 1, 2006 and will add 70 miles in FY 2008 and 90 miles in FY 2009. To accomplish this, DOT is hiring new staff and committing more funding for its Bicycle and Highway Design divisions. The City's Parks & Recreation Department (DPR) also plans to complete 40 miles of greenways in City Parks over the next four years. 

"Today's announcement that the City Departments of Transportation, Health, Police and Parks are working together to dramatically improve and increase bicycling heralds a new and exciting era for the city," Transportation Alternatives' Bicycle Program Director Noah Budnick said. "Three million New Yorkers are overweight, one million have asthma and three-quarter million suffer from diabetes. It is clear more than ever that increasing cycling is a public health issue, as well as one of traffic safety, air quality and economics."

"Safe bicycling is a great way to increase physical activity and improve health," said Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "By making New York City an even safer place to ride, we hope more New Yorkers will bike for better health."

"A combination of adherence to traffic rules by motorists and cyclists alike, along with the use of appropriate safety equipment, will go a long way toward saving lives and making the cycling environment even safer," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

The City's bicycle crash study is the most thorough analysis of cyclist serious injuries and fatalities undertaken in the United States, according to Transportation Alternatives. It was prompted in 2005 by Transportation Alternatives and a coalition of twenty New York City cycling organizations after a spate of cyclist deaths. After the cycling groups came together, City agencies joined forces to produce the study.

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