By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
With the establishment of the Citi Bike program, more and more New Yorkers are riding bicycles through the streets of the city these days. One of the best ways to enjoy a safe ride is to wear a helmet, transportation experts say.
In order to help increase public awareness of the importance of bike safety, councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) is partnering with the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to host a free bike helmet giveaway on Sunday, Oct. 13.
Not only can residents receive a free bike helmet, they can have the helmet properly fitted to their head, thanks to the program co-sponsored by Greenfield and the DOT.
The helmet giveaway will take place at the Borough Park Y, 4912 14th Ave., from 3-6 p.m. The distribution will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last.
Helmets will be available for riders of all ages.
“Groups of children having fun and getting some exercise on their bikes are a common sight on every single block in our community. While I strongly believe that all cyclists should wear a helmet to reduce the risk of serious injury, it is especially important that every child and teenager has a quality helmet that has been properly fitted for them,” Greenfield said.
“That’s why I am proud to partner with the DOT to distribute hundreds of free helmets to our community and to encourage safe cycling,” Greenfield added.
Bicycling more than doubled in New York City between 2007 and 2011, according to the DOT. At the same time, the rate of serious injuries and fatalities among bike riders has dropped by 75 percent over the past decade, a fact transportation experts credit to infrastructure improvements and safety initiatives including helmet giveaways.
Since 2006, the DOT has distributed more than 50,000 helmets to children and adult cyclists around the city, and plans to distribute an additional 10,000 helmets over the next two years through partnerships with elected officials like Greenfield.
DOT officials recommend that bike riders of all ages, not just children, protect themselves by wearing a properly fitted helmet while riding.
Last year, Greenfield introduced a bill in the City Council that would mandate the use of bike helmets by cyclists of all ages in New York City. Greenfield’s proposed legislation law would have carried a $25 fine – the same cost of a new helmet. He said his intention is to increase safety, and not to generate revenue. Under current law, helmets are required for children age 13 or younger and for all commercial cyclists.
Statistics show that more than 90 percent of cyclists who were killed while riding a bike were not wearing a helmet at the time.
For more information on the bike helmet giveaway, call Greenfield’s office at 718-853-2704.