New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today launched its second annual Bike to School competition—an application-based, curriculum-driven safety-education program that helps promote bicycling as a safe, healthy and fast way to get around the city. Available to middle and high schools across the city, the program builds on past DOT Bike to School Day events to promote bicycling to school. The 2014 Bike to School program will be available to five schools, which will receive a “starter kit” with curriculum materials, technical assistance to identify safer routes, the installation of bike racks and other DOT support. Selected schools also will receive $500 from the Safe Streets Fund, a nonprofit, to assist with implementing their Bike to School program. Partner organizations Bike New York and Recycle-a-Bicycle will provide additional services to the chosen schools, including safe riding assemblies, learn-to-ride training and bike maintenance classes. In the second year of the program, schools will transition to operating the program independently, while DOT continues the classroom curriculum and organizes additional events. For the third year, schools will take over the in-class curriculum and work towards hosting their own celebratory bike parade to mark the completion of the program. All New York City school can apply now via DOT’s Web site, nyc.gov/biketoschool, and applications for the 2014 program will be accepted through December 13, 2013.
“Even more wheels are turning in classrooms citywide as schools introduce a new curriculum about the benefits of biking and riding smart,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “With lesson plans and activities that get students thinking about streets and safety, we’re helping them discover biking is a great shortcut to a healthier, more active lifestyle.”
This year, four schools were selected to participate in the Bike to School program: El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, Brooklyn; Mott Hall IV Middle School, Brooklyn; Academy of Conservation and Environment, Brooklyn; and Bea Fuller Rodgers Intermediate School 528, Manhattan. DOT’s Bike to School program got its start in May 2010 when the agency collaborated with Bike New York to host its first Bike to School Day ride with students at Brooklyn’s M.S. 51 in Park Slope. DOT formalized the Bike to School program curriculum the following year based on the partnership with M.S. 51.
Commuter cycling has quadrupled in the last decade as the City has reached new milestones in safety. Despite this growth, there has been no increase in serious bike crashes—representing a nearly 75% decrease in risk, and the last six years recording the fewest traffic fatalities for all street users in more than 100 years of record keeping. To further these crucial safety gains, DOT continues pairing street-safety re-engineering citywide with education and outreach to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The agency also continues to fit and distribute free bike helmets to New Yorkers. To date, DOT has provided more than 100,000 helmets to adults and children in all five boroughs.
To apply for the Bike to School program and for more information on all DOT initiatives, visit nyc.gov/dot.