NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer says low-income public high school students should get free bicycles and Citi Bike memberships.
He is also calling on the city to build 1.5 miles of protected bike lanes around every city high school building.
The plan would “open the door to biking for hundreds of thousands of young people,” Stringer said in a Wednesday statement. “By taking this action, we can allow New York City’s youth to get around their city, improve health and educational outcomes and connect with their communities.”
The comptroller said MTA service cuts and expectations that school bus capacity will be reduced make biking a priority.
While he didn’t put a number on the cost of the undertaking — which comes as the city is dealing with staggering tax revenue losses — Stringer called on “private philanthropists and local foundations” to work with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC to provide free Citi Bike memberships to all public high school students whose homes and schools are near Citi Bike docks. The service is available to people 16 and older.
High schoolers who aren’t in a Citi Bike zone should get free bicycles, Stringer said, calling on the Mayor’s Fund and bike manufacturers to make it happen.
Out of the city’s 350,000 public high school students, the 240,000 classified by the Education Department as living in poverty would be eligible.
The comptroller wants to see 50 public high school buildings get protected bike lanes “in the next year,” with the rest to get the same treatment by the end of 2025.
His vision for a bike-friendlier city also includes more indoor and outdoor bicycle parking at schools, courses on bike care and annual Education Department surveys of student commutes.
Noting that 29.% of city high schoolers were obese in 2017, Stringer’s office touted the health benefits of getting around on two wheels.
“A number of studies have shown that biking to school significantly improves concentration, cognitive skills and school performance,” it said. “This is primarily linked to the health benefits from daily exercise.”
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