Press Releases

Press Release #16-048
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Scott Gastel/Jose Bayona (212)839-4850

At Brooklyn Public Library, NYC DOT Announces Distribution of New Free Vision Zero Bicycle Helmet and Releases its ‘Cycling in the City‘ Brief

Starting this week, DOT will give away 23,000 helmets; Brooklyn Public Library will host first giveaway and fitting Thursday from 3:30-7:00pm, in advance of Library's annual Bike the Branches event on Saturday, May 7

DOT Brief shows popularity of cycling in New York City has ‘exploded’; more than ¾ of a million New Yorkers ride regularly, a growth rate of 49% in last five years 

Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg today joined Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) CEO Linda E. Johnson, New York City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriquez and others at the Central Library in Grand Army Plaza to announce the giveaway of new, free Vision Zero-branded bicycle helmets and the release of DOT’s “Cycling in the City” brief.  The event precedes two major BPL events: a Thursday afternoon/evening helmet giveaway at the Central Library as well as the annual Bike the Branches ride, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 7.

“With 2015 the safest year ever on New York City’s streets, Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative has been incredibly successful,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “Our snazzy new helmet carrying a Vision Zero logo sends two important messages at the same time: riders will promote the program’s powerful message while at the same time riding more safely.  With cycling on New York City streets exploding, we thank our partners at the Brooklyn Public Library and the City Council for all they do to promote safer cycling.”

“As Brooklyn Public Library gears up for our annual Bike the Branches ride, we once again join the Department of Transportation in encouraging New Yorkers to cycle safely this season,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “We look forward to welcoming the community to our branches for a day of fun, bike-themed events on Saturday, and we hope to see many Bike the Branches participants in their new, free Vision Zero helmets.”

Free helmet events are scheduled in the five boroughs from April to the end of October each year.  In 2016, largely with the support of members of the City Council, DOT will distribute 23,000 Vision Zero helmets featuring the initiative’s distinctive logo.  (Find schedule of future giveaways and helmet-fitting events across the City here.)   As partners in these efforts Council Members have provided $75,000 for helmet fittings this Fiscal year. The one-of-a-kind Vision Zero helmet has the distinctive logo in dark blue, light gray stripes and a bright blue top, visor and padding.  Since 2007, NYC DOT has distributed almost 150,000 helmets to children and adults.   Fittings are performed by trained DOT staff, who discuss the importance of bike safety as they fit riders with helmets.

Helmets are required under New York State law for children age 13 or younger and commercial cyclists.   While not legally required for adults, studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the chance of death or serious injury by 85% -- and so helmets are a good idea for cyclists of all ages.

According to DOT's 2016 Cycling in the City brief, released this week, New York City has seen a recent dramatic increase in bicycle riding.  It uses data collected by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as part of its annual Community Health Survey, where 25% of adult New Yorkers (almost 1.6 million) reported riding a bike at least once in the last year, and 12% (778,000) rode at least several times a month, a number that has expanded by 49% since 2009.  This impressive growth has also contributed to safer cycling: data show that the risk to New York City cyclists of a serious injury or fatality has been reduced 72% over the last fifteen years.

“Increasing bike lanes and promoting cycling safety are crucial pieces of the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic-related fatalities and make our streets safer and friendlier for pedestrians,” said Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “DOT’s initiative aligns with the Health Department’s work to promote physical activity by creating safer streets that New Yorkers can use to exercise. Creating environments that make it easier and safer for communities to be active is key to creating a healthier city.”

“The DOT is doing tremendous work in getting New Yorkers on bikes as a way to get around the city,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Transportation Committee. “Safety and fear of getting hit by a car has always been a deterrent for potential cyclists, but with new bike lanes and safer streets, more residents are finding the joy of cycling. There is so much more to see when commuting on a bike, not to mention the exercise you get through active transportation. As we continue to build out our bike network, bring Citi Bike to more communities and increase safety, I hope more New Yorkers will leave their cars home and take a bike.”

“Brooklynites are on the move, with more and more people each year choosing both to live and to work in the borough and ride a bicycle between their destinations,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Now we must work together to build on the demonstrated interest in bicycle commuting by creating additional cycling infrastructure, including protected bike lanes, and enforcing traffic regulations that create safe streets for all users of the roadway, cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and motorists, alike.”

“Our investments in Vision Zero and cycling infrastructure are paying dividends,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.  “Cyclists of all kinds are enjoying New York City streets in previously unimaginable numbers. DOT’s new Cycling in the City report contains good news for all New Yorkers. Our efforts to promote good cycling conduct and the safety of riders must match the 49% growth in participation. Put your helmet on! I do, every time I ride.”

“Anyone who bikes, walks, or drives in NYC can tell that there are more and more cyclists on the road every day,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.  “As more New Yorkers choose this sustainable transportation option, and I want to thank DOT for all their hard work to keep these cyclists safe by improving infrastructure and working toward Vision Zero.”

"I welcome the NYC Department of Transportation's 'Cycling in the City' Report.  As more New Yorkers cycle regularly, all road users should be aware of safety. Today's Vision Zero Bicycle Helmet Giveaway helps ensure cyclists take an important step to prevent injury," said State Senator Jesse Hamilton.

"Citi Bike, which is bigger and better than ever,  is very proud to have added to the record Citywide growth in cycling that DOT reports today" said Jay Walder, President and CEO of Motivate, which operates Citi Bike.  "Our ridership continues to grow, we've seen a 51% increase over last April, as we've added 140 new stations and reached Queens for the first time. And we will continue to expand cycling as Citi Bike expands to new neighborhoods, growing to 12,000 bikes by the end of 2017."

“Cyclist safety is obviously a critical part of Vision Zero, and as more and more New Yorkers choose bicycles as a means of transportation and recreation, it is vitally important that they protect themselves,” said Ken Podziba, President & CEO of Bike New York. “Wearing a helmet is one of the most effective ways a cyclist can reduce the risk of serious injury, so I applaud the DOT for bonding together two very important components of bicycle safety: Vision Zero and helmets.”

About Brooklyn Public Library:

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website:

About Vision Zero:

This past January, Mayor de Blasio announced that 2015 had been the safest year ever on New York City’s streets, and unveiled several new Vision Zero initiatives for 2016. He announced targeted NYPD enforcement, the expansion of New York City’s 1,000-mile bike network, an additional $115 million investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures on key thoroughfares citywide, a pilot project to reduce left-turn collisions, increased use of speed-enforcement cameras and more intensive safety education in collaboration with the Department of Education in elementary and middle schools.

For more information about Vision Zero please visit


Vision Zero helmet resting atop bicycle handlebars
The new Vision Zero helmet presented this morning at the Brooklyn’s Public Library
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and staff
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg presents the Cycling in the City brief.