New NYPD Fee Could Kill Bike New York's Free Cyclist Safety Classes

Bikes New York CityFlickr/CC BY 3.0

You'd Think the NYPD Would Love Free Cyclist Safety Classes...

All cyclists should at the very least learn the basics of road safety on 2 wheels at the hand of experienced instructors. I'm not saying this because cycling is particularly dangerous - statistically, it isn't - but because if we're all going to share the road, we have to follow the same rules and know what to do to avoid certain dangerous situations, and because if we can save some lives that easily, we should.

That's why charitable groups like Bike New York are so great. They make such classes as accessible as possible (price: free). They teach hundreds of classes each year, some aimed at kids, others at adults, some for bike commuters, or about bike maintenance, or traffic skills, safety basics, etc. As I said, great stuff!


There's a problem. Bike New York raises the money for its bike classes from the Five Boro Bike Tour, a great event with around 30,000 participants. But the NYPD has proposed a rule change that would leave it discretion to decide what is a "charitable event" and what isn't, and if you aren't one, you need to pay certain fees. Even though Bike New York is a registered non-profit, the city has informed the organization that under the new rules the Five Boro Bike Tour would not be considered a charitable event. That means a bill of almost a million dollars, which would wipe out pretty much the charity's whole budget. That means no more free classes for thousands of cyclists...

New York bike laneFlickr/CC BY 3.0

“Bike New York is a not-for-profit organization, and the proceeds from the Five Boro Bike Tour are used solely to enable it to carry out its charitable mission,” said [Bike New York president Ken Podziba]. “It is clear that a bike tour whose proceeds go entirely to a non-profit organization should be considered a ‘Charitable Athletic’ event. There is nothing ‘uncharitable’ about charging an entry fee to cover event costs and otherwise raise funds for an organization’s mission.”

“If I was not told verbally by the City that we were included in the proposed amendment I would not think Bike New York would be impacted by it. Bike New York did not pay fees in 2012 and this amendment, based on the language, appears to be targeting just Bike New York.”

This sucks. I hope the city will reconsider. The NYPD should be thanking Bike New York for making the streets safer and saner by teaching cyclists how to ride more safely and how to deal with dangerous situations. the NYPD's mission is to protect new yorkers, and Bike New York is helping doing just that. Seems like they should support each other....

Via Streetsblog

See also: New York City's 2012 Edition of Summer Streets to Take Place in Early August

Tags: Bikes | New York City


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