New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) launched its third 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 schools and high schools across the city, the program builds on past DOT Bike to School Day events to promote bicycling to school.
Five schools will be awarded in the 2015 Bike to School Program, a three-year program. In the first year, schools will receive a “starter kit” with curriculum materials, technical assistance to identify safer routes, the installation of bike racks and other DOT support. 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 be responsible for the in-class curriculum and work towards hosting their own celebratory bike parade to mark the completion of the program. All New York City schools can apply now via DOT’s Web site, www.nyc.gov/biketoschool, and applications for the 2015 program will be accepted through January 7, 2015.
“Cycling is a great way for young New Yorkers to be active, explore their neighborhood, grow independently, and develop street safety habits,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “I am pleased to bring a program to the city’s youth to encourage cycling as a great mode of transportation.”
“This program helps our students develop healthy and safe habits, and I am excited to see more schools and students from across the City take advantage of it,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The Bike to School program offers our children a chance to learn important and useful skills like bike safety and maintenance, as well as explore and celebrate their community.”
Since 2013, there have been six schools that were part of the Bike to School program: El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, Brooklyn; Mott Hall IV Middle School, Brooklyn; Bea Fuller Rodgers Intermediate School 528, Manhattan; East-West School of International Studies, Queens; NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies, Manhattan; and International High School at Union Square, Manhattan.
DOT’s Bike to School program began 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.
In the past decade, the number of cyclists has quadrupled in New York City, and New Yorkers now enjoy over 600 miles of bike lanes in New York City streets. As part of Vision Zero, DOT will continue to pair street redesigns and re-engineering with citywide education and outreach. To date, DOT has provided over 120,000 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 www.nyc.gov/dot.