Health Department Hosts "Bike Bonanaza" For 600 Brownsville Youth

 Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation, and community organizations give away helmets and bikes to adolescents; help create safe environment for physical activity   

Brownsville has one of the lowest rates of physical activity in New York City  

March 19, 2016 – The Health Department’s Brooklyn District Public Health Office today coordinated a "Bike Bonanza" for Brownsville area youth. In partnership with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and community partners, the Health Department coordinated fitting and distribution of helmets for more than 600 youth in the area. Community-based partners "Bike New York" conducted a bike-riding class, and "Recycle-A-Bicycle" contributed more than 50 bikes toward a bike share and exchange program free of charge. Creating environments that makes it easier and safer for communities to be physically active is a key health initiative for the Health Department. North and Central Brooklyn has one of the lowest rates of physical activity in New York City, with 37 percent of residents falling below the 2008 physical activity recommendations according to the 2014 Community Health Survey. 

“Through our partnerships with neighborhood residents and community organizations like Bike New York and Recycle-A-Bicycle, along with other city agencies, we continue to work together to advance the health of Brownsville residents,” said Associate Commissioner and Director of the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity.

 “Biking is fun and good for your health. What better way to get families and children excited about exercise than to ensure they have the space bike ride freely and safely,” said Assistant Commissioner for the Brooklyn District Public Health Office Dr. Torian Easterling.  “Promoting strategies to increase physical activity is key to our goal of making neighborhoods healthier.”

“The Bike Bonanza is a fun opportunity for the Brownsville community to come together and prepare for the warmer weather,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Biking is an excellent outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy, and with so many places to ride in New York City, everyone should get the chance to learn. Parks is proud to partner with the Department of Transportation, the Health Department and the local community to bring resources like helmet fittings, bike shares and educational workshops to this underserved community. It is extremely important that all New Yorkers are able to enjoy and take advantage of the wide-ranging services provided at our recreation centers. Our goal is to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles for people of all ages and abilities.”

“Up-cycling is made cool at this event. As young people test out a swapped bike that fits them, the smiles say it all. There is no greater joy than riding a bike that fits!” said Karen Overton, Executive Director Recycle-A-Bicycle.

“Bike Bonanza’s are a great ‘one-stop shop’ for families who want to get their kids started in cycling. Recycle a Bicycle brings kids bikes so that kids who have outgrown their bikes can swap to a different size; Bike New York teaches first-timers how to ride a bike without using training wheels, and provides free bike safety information; and Department of Transportation distributes and fits free bike helmets. Bike Bonanza’s are a great partnership between the three organizations, and a great community event for families.   A huge thanks to Parks Department and Brownsville Rec Center for hosting this Bike Bonanza,” said Richard Conroy, Education Director for Bike New York.   

Working to make streets safer and friendlier through increased visibility and education, the Brooklyn District Public Health Office, soon to become the Brooklyn Neighborhood Health Action Center, collaborated with the DOT and DOP to bring 28 miles of painted bike lanes to Brownsville Brooklyn. Since 2010, more than 1200 helmets have been distributed in Brownsville and East New York and 600 bike racks have been installed around the city through similar events. Increasing bike paths and bike safety is also part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce the number of traffic related fatalities to zero. 

Health events like the Bike Bonanza increases physical activity for parents and adolescents. Low physical activity can contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that are of particular concern for communities of color. The Health Department has made eliminating health inequities a priority. In 2014, the Department created the Center for Health Equity, and earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced three new Neighborhood Health Action Centers, including one in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Investing in neighborhoods historically deprived of resources and building partnerships with other City agencies is a cornerstone of the Center for Health Equity’s approach to advance health equity across New York City.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez:
(347) 396-4177, pressoffice@health.nyc.gov