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NYC Council urges schools to start teaching bike safety

New York City Council trains Department of Education on bike safety.

Council members, including Rita Joseph (D-Flatbush), chair of the council’s education committee, introduced a resolution this week calling on the DOE to teach bike safety in all public schools — a lesson that’s been mandated by law since 2014.

“It was never taught,” Joseph told the Post. “As an educator for 22 years, I never knew [the law] existed.”

Joseph, who was a full-time teacher at PS 6 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, until she was sworn into the council in January, said two of her former students were pedestrians killed by cars.

One of them, Isaiah Benloss, 18, was hit by a car in August 2020 and eventually died after being in a coma for more than a year.

Recalling how shocked she was to learn of the crash, Joseph said she expected a call about Benloss one day – but from the teenager himself and with great news.

“The call I was waiting for was ‘Ms. Joseph, I was drafted by the NBA,” she said.

Bike safety courses have been required by law since 2014 - but have not been taught in the city, according to Councilor Rita Joseph.
Bike safety courses have been required by law since 2014 – but have not been taught in the city, according to Councilor Rita Joseph.
Will Alatriste

Joseph’s road safety resolution, co-introduced with Councilor Erik Bottcher (D-Chelsea) and Council Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers (D-Southeast Queens), Chair of the Transportation Committee, is part of a larger effort to promote safety by cyclists of all ages.

Around 773,000 city dwellers are regular cyclists and take an estimated 530,000 bike rides a day, according to a press release from the council.

According to Joseph, while the state education law requires all students to be educated on traffic rules and bicycle safety, only eight schools offer bicycle curriculums through Bike New York, which sends trained instructors to the schools.

Only eight schools in the city offer rider safety courses conducted by Bike New York instructors.
Only eight schools in the city offer rider safety courses conducted by Bike New York instructors.
Will Alatriste

“We don’t see enough bike lessons, the same way they offer rider training,” she said.

But Joseph also said the roads need to be safe enough for the kids to take advantage of their bike education.

“While teaching them, we need to be able to provide them with the right framework,” she said. “We’ve seen the accidents this year – young people after young people just dying on the streets.”

Joseph's resolution was presented with Councilman Erik Bottcher and Council Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers.
Joseph’s resolution was presented with Councilman Erik Bottcher and Council Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers.
Will Alatriste

According to the Department of Transportation’s latest bicycle accident data report, 5,175 cyclists were injured and 24 killed in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2020.

“Biking is a critical part of the present and future of transportation in New York City,” Bottcher said in a statement. “As we develop more and more much-needed infrastructure to support the growth of cycling, we must also develop a culture of awareness and safety among our youngest riders.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/29/nyc-council-pushes-for-schools-to-finally-teach-bike-safety/ NYC Council urges schools to start teaching bike safety

JACLYN DIAZ

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