Starting next month, 7,000 more bikes will be unleashed into the transportation ecosystem of New York City. The bike share, or Citi Bike program, is one the Department of Transportation has been contemplating for years and that bike enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting.
With 14,000 additional wheels on the road, bike safety is paramount. And to be safe, you have to follow the rules.
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While the DOT has been touting its Bike Smart campaign for over a year, the pending increase of city cyclists — both experienced and inexperienced on city streets — is reason to pay even closer attention to the rules.
To that end, the Citi Bikes will have the basic rules written on them, and the city’s leading cycling advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, is expanding its outreach. The group considers bike safety a crucial element in its campaign to make cycling as respected a mode of transportation as driving or walking.
“We see an increased need for outreach,” said Caroline Samponaro, the director of bicycle advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, adding that they launched their bike ambassador program last year in part because of bike share.
“We knew with bike share there would be even more growth in biking and it was an opportunity to get ahead,” she said.
Bike ambassadors go out into the streets and educate riders and potential riders about biking laws while working with community groups, schools and public officials. Samponaro says they need more of them.
“When it [bike share] launches, we will need to do more to connect with riders who may be new,” she said.
While it’s expected that the bikes will be used by tourists, commuters and everyday bike riders, the bike share is expected to be used in large part by biking newbies.
“It will draw a totally new crowd into bicycling,” Samponaro said.
On Monday, New York City Comptroller John Liu called into question the safety of bike share,
To read the whole story, visit here: http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2012/06/in-anticipation-of-bike-share-a-push-for-safety/
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