NYBC 2018 Appeal

At NYBC our 2018 Appeal is in progress and Chris, a reader on Facebook, made an interesting comment that asks some important questions about what we do and why we do it. What do we do for him right now?

“I haven't seen NYBC do anything that directly helps me as an all-season commuter. It's all political lobbying and infrastructure advocacy that does little to nothing for me. People still park in bike lanes, honk at me for taking the lane, and local cops make up laws to screw with me at their convenience with no serious consequences. There are many cyclists in NY who aren't MAMILs that could use some support/representation."

Unfortunately, Chris, the problems you describe are caused by inconsiderate people, and we’re never going to be able eliminate all of those. I wish we could!

But the work we are doing at NYBC to advocate for legislation, infrastructure, and education gets at the root causes of the problems like these that you and other New York cyclists face every day. It takes time and work to create relationships in government, business, and the cycling community to form coalitions, navigate bureaucracy, and address attitudes that leads to true, lasting change. Our annual Bike Summit, now heading into its third year, has made a great start on doing that across the state.

It takes time and work to create relationships in government, business, and the cycling community to form coalitions, navigate bureaucracy, and address attitudes that leads to true, lasting change

This time, work, and travel all takes money, and that’s why each year during our appeal, we ask for support from the public, cycling, and business communities in New York State. The best way you can make a difference is by supporting our efforts with your donation.

Three Foot Safe Passing

First, there must be appropriate laws enacted before we can push for fair enforcement. For instance, as of this past July, 34 states nationally have three foot (or more) passing laws that can be enforced. NY does not. We are working to change that, but it takes time and effort. As we posted across all our social media, with a change in leadership of the Transportation Committee in the New York State legislature, we think this is the year we finally might achieve a defined safe passing law! Check out our campaign page.

Ebike Regulation

Ebikes open up access to more people than ever to use bicycles for commuting. But New York law still hasn’t caught up with their rapidly growing popularity for bike commuting. While you can buy a Class One, Two or Three e-bike in NYS, their grey legal status in actual use has been a drag on their wide adoption, including as an offering in the bike share programs that are popping up and expanding across New York State.

Again, with a change in leadership of the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee, 2019 is the year when we can change comprehensive legal regulatory authority for human scale e-transportation options including bikes and scooters. Check out that campaign page, too.

Bike Friendly Infrastructure

We are also working hard for infrastructure such as segregated multi-use trails and dedicated bike lanes that remove many of the problems you describe in your comment because they separate bicycles and motor vehicles. Also, having sheltered, secure bike parking facilities enables more people than ever to use and store their bikes effectively and make bicycles a viable real world everyday transportation option.

We know about all the great changes in metro New York City. But our two bike summits have revealed great things happening all over the state - in cities and towns of all sizes! It can take years to do all the planning and construction to create this infrastructure and help change the mindset in government toward complete street design solutions across our state.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education

And finally, of course bicycle and pedestrian safety education. Thanks to a great suite of deliverables created with funding from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, the entire NYBC team and our constituency across the state have the resources to change behavior to alleviate the problems cited in your post.

Our booth at the New York State Fair in Syracuse last summer brought this safety message to tens of thousands of fairgoers, particularly young people, with a special emphasis on creating positive habits that will foster a lifetime of healthy, safe and every day active transportation.

Our Educators and Safety Ambassadors, located in key high crash "hot spots" around the state, have provided classes, distributed educational material and supported local efforts to foster safe walking and cycling.

In addition, we are working to form more relationships with local law enforcement departments and academies that will lead to improved knowledge and enforcement of existing laws for the benefit of both cyclists and motorists. If you have any contacts in the law enforcement community that would help us do that, we would love to have them. This also takes time and effort.

By educating drivers about cyclists’ needs and rights, and how to interact with them properly, we want to change attitudes and increase safety and courtesy for all road users.

We are also working on an educational initiative, Bike Friendly Driver, to be presented to driver education classes, fleet operators, and government. By educating drivers about cyclists’ needs and rights, and how to interact with them properly, we want to change attitudes and increase safety and courtesy for all road users. This, too, takes time and work.

Chris, I hope you will see that we are doing important work that really is designed to help you as a bike commuter. We are working help all cyclists make the choice to be every day bicyclists that will help build a low carbon New York State.

Our mantra is everyone on a bike no matter what the reason. Whether it's for recreation, transportation, or fitness, everyone wins when more people ride!

Thanks for reading.

Paul Winkeller

Executive Director