Safer Streets Mean a Healthier New York

There has been a lot of unwarranted and over-the-top opposition to New York City’s bike lane network this year. Amid all of the this noise, it is easy to lose sight of the facts that cycling is becoming more popular, it gets safer as more people do it, and many people are actually becoming healthier by incorporating biking into their daily lives.

Dr. Linda Prine and 139 other doctors recently wrote a letter to Mayor Bloomberg on Sept. 22, 2011, explaining “pedestrian plazas, car-free spaces, neighborhood bike networks and world-class bicycle lanes… are vital to the public health of our city.” Dr. Prine would know as the President of the New York County chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians. She also advises that commuting to work by bicycle or increasing the distance of daily walks has been shown to promote weight loss better than any exercise program or medication physicians could prescribe.

So this is a readily available policy solution to prescribe better health for 8 million New Yorkers – how could anyone stand in the way?

We’re part of the solution – MYD is taking a stand for biking and you can, too:

1)   Write to local newspapers –Times, Daily News, Post, Wall Street Journal, El Diario – and compliment them when they promote biking and good public health (and let them know when they are not being helpful). You never know when you may get published! Check out my published letter in the New York Daily News from this week:

2)   Support biking at public hearings in person and online. Community boards often have hearings about bike lanes and supporters need to come out to defend our right to safe streets. A recent community forum was held to solicit public opinion about an East River Greenway. This will be a transformational project for biking, walking and running on the East Side of Manhattan. You can still submit comments here:

3)   Get out there and bike yourself! The best way to support the biking community is to join it.