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Environmentally Friendly Transportation: Biking

Biking is an affordable, healthy, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Be sure to wear a helmet and follow all bike traffic laws. In warmer weather, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your bike commutes safe and efficient.

Use the right gear

  • Swap your backpack for a bike bag or pannier. This will reduce sweat and effort on your part, as the weight of your belongings will shift onto the bike and off of your body.
  • Wear lightweight or wick-away clothes. Light, loose-fitting fabrics can cover your skin from the sun while also keeping your body cool. You don’t need to wear athletic clothes, and picking the right fabrics can make transitioning from commuting to working more comfortable.
  • Use sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. Protect your skin, eyes, and face from harmful UV radiation that can cause sunburns, other adverse health impacts, and general discomfort.
  • Bring a water bottle. Hydration is important regardless of the length of your commute. Drinking water helps regulate your body temperature and keeps you from overheating or feeling thirsty.

Design your route

  • Plan ahead. This can help you identify safe biking areas that will get you to your place of work on time. Check out NYC’s bicycle maps or New York’s statewide bicycle route guide.
  • Find shaded areas. Staying on narrower, greener paths can make your commute cooler and more enjoyable. Try to avoid long stretches with direct sunlight and spaces with mostly concrete.
  • Don’t hurry. Leave extra time for your commute in the hot weather so you can take breaks to rest and hydrate as needed.

Biking is an affordable mode of transportation for all New Yorkers. Citi Bike, founded in 2013 and the nation’s largest bike share program, offers a $5 monthly membership for NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients. Without an annual commitment, members of the program get the first 45 minutes of each ride free on a classic Citi Bike. Citi Bike also partners with Healthfirst, New York’s largest non-profit health insurer, to sponsor a Community Grant Program that supports events, programs, and activities organized by non-profit and community-based organizations that aims to increase bike share access for people of color and low-income residents. Bike New York, a charitable organization started in 1977, runs free bike education programs and bike salvaging and recycling drives in New York City. Bike New York’s Recycle-A-Bicycle program sells recycled and donated low-cost bikes and equipment. Their Bike Library programs offer free access to bikes for use in different parks across the five boroughs. Similarly, the New York Bicycling Coalition organizes Community Bike Shops and related bike repair programs across the state that provide free or low-cost donated bikes and bike parts.

During COVID-19, cyclists can help keep themselves and others safe by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering while biking, maintaining good hand hygiene, and staying home if you feel unwell. New York state advises cyclists to wash their hands with soap and warm water or to use hand sanitizer and wipe the handlebars before and after every ride.