As you may have read in our last blog post, May is National Bike Month, and we're putting together our first-ever series of National Bike Month events to get folks talking about riding bikes and, ultimately, actually riding! We're going to start things off with some myth-busting--because there's nothing worse than letting a misconception stop you from experiencing the benefits of riding a bike--and there's no better organization to help us bust those big bad bike myths than Transportation Alternatives.
What IS Transportation Alternatives?
Transportation Alternatives (also known as TA) is more than just the headliner for the first of our events. The organization is on a mission to "reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile and to promote bicycling, walking, public transit." Given that most New Yorkers do at least one of these things daily, that's a mission we can all relate to--and support.
What does TA do, other than bust bike myths?
In their own words, "T.A. fights for the installation of infrastructure improvements that reduce speeding and traffic crashes, save lives and improve everyday transportation for all New Yorkers." That means fighting for Select Bus Service to decrease commuter travel times; pushing for bike and pedestrian paths on the Verrazano and on Queens Boulevard to save lives and open up new commuting options; championing the pedestrian right-of-way to protect walking New Yorkers from aggressive driving; and much more.
You may also have heard of Vision Zero, the idea that "no New Yorker should be killed or injured in traffic." Many cities across the US have begun committing to Vision Zero programs of their own, and TA is a part of the movement here in New York demanding that the city take meaningful action to realize this vision.
TA was also instrumental in establishing New York's now-successful bike share program, Citi Bike, and still works with New Yorkers across all boroughs to win Citi Bike stations for their neighborhoods. This, together with all the other bike infrastructure TA pushes for, makes the organization's Executive Director, Paul Steely White, the perfect man to set to rest, at our first National Bike Month event, those pesky bike myths that keep people from taking advantage of a healthy and affordable mode of transportation.
How can you get involved?
TA is only as strong as its many supporters in neighborhoods throughout the city. Are you passionate about something--like why there's no crosswalk at the end of your block and getting home is like playing Frogger? Or why the "bike lane" you attempt to take to work is one giant pothole that has wrecked your tires one too many times? TA encourages you to go and complain about it to the people who have the power to change it! Check out their projects by neighborhood and get involved at a local level, then sign up for their newsletter to stay updated on all the ways you can actually help change New York for the better.