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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #07-49

Contact: Molly Gordy (212) 442-7033

DOT and Chinese Chamber of Commerce Announce Free Helmet Distribution for Bicycle Delivery Workers

Under New Law Businesses Must Provide Helmets for Commercial Cyclists

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chairman David J. Louie announced today that they will distribute free NYC bicycle helmets to delivery workers on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will also distribute reflective safety vests at the event. The helmet fitting and distribution will be held from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street.

The event is intended to inform businesses and bicycle operators about two new laws that take effect on July 26th, 2007 and were sponsored by Council members Gale Brewer and Alan Gerson, both of whom attended today's announcement.

One of the new laws will require that employers provide each of their bicycle delivery workers with a helmet that meets City safety standards and that delivery bicycles be equipped with a lamp, bell, brakes, reflectors and other safety devices.

A second law will require that all employers of bike delivery workers post signs that detail bicycle safety procedures, operator responsibilities and the responsibilities of businesses that employ commercial bicycle operators.

"This legislation sends a message that we're serious about keeping New York's hard-working commercial cyclists safe on our streets," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "Bicycle helmets help save lives, and we hope to see a big turn-out at next week's NYC Helmet fitting and giveaway."

"The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York wishes to thank Department of Transportation for its continued support of the needs of the Chinese community," said Chairman Louie. "Making the distribution of free helmets available in Chinatown is another example of the cooperation we've enjoyed from the fine people at the DOT."

"By investing in equipment and education, the City empowers commercial bicyclists to make better decisions that improve the safety of all New Yorkers," said Councilmember Gale Brewer.

"This helmet giveaway is a great way for the Department of Transportation to complement and support the City Council's Commercial Cyclist Helmet law," said Councilmember Gerson. "Working together, we are making our streets safer for commercial cyclists and pedestrians alike."

A 2006 City study of fatal bike accidents in New York City found that most deaths occurred from head injuries, and 97 percent of those occurred when bicyclists were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

DOT is giving away bike helmets as part of its "GET FIT-TED" safety awareness campaign. The helmets were purchased with a donation from Target. The first 1,000 helmets were distributed and fitted in Central Park on June 16. Anyone interested in obtaining a free NYC helmet can call 311 to find out helmet fitting events at DOT's Safety City locations.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has begun a pilot program to provide delivery workers with reflective vests that increase cyclists' visibility and allow for easy display of identifying information. Under City law, commercial cyclists must display a sign indicating their employer's name and a personal, three-digit identification number.

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