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111th Precinct officers push residents to be safer on bikes

The 111th Precinct is getting the word out about bike safety in time for spring.

The new year brings a new emphasis by the NYPD citywide on ensuring cyclists understand and follow laws and regulations in order to keep them as safe as possible on the street, so the 111th is making an extra effort to bring that message to its residents as the snow starts to melt.

“Bicycle safety is now a big push by the city. It’s a big issue right now and they’re watching and tracking bicycle accidents,” 111th Community Affairs Officer Gary Poggiali said. “So the NYPD wants to ensure that the public knows there are some safety tips that we’re distributing such as always wear a helmet, try to wear light or reflective clothing at night, always wear properly sized clothing, ´╗┐make sure your bike is the right size and has reflectors, make sure you’re aware of what’s going on.”

But those basic tips are not all pedal-pushers need to know to ensure they avoid the perils of touring the borough on two wheels.

They also need to understand that there are rules of the road for cyclists, which often parallel those set for drivers, and that fines await the imprudent rider.

“Bicycles have to stop at stop signs and at red lights. They haven’t pushed it much before, but you have to follow all the traffic laws,” Poggiali said. “Summons will be issued to bicycle riders if they aren’t abiding by the rules and regulations of the NYPD.”

The NYPD also suggests getting bicycles inspected before hitting the pavement after a long, snowbound hibernation.

“Your local bike shop can make sure before the spring that your bike is in order and properly serviced,” Poggiali said.

The 111th offers bicycle etching, to help keep track of prized bicycles and locks are recommended whenever leaving a bike in a public space.

Call 311 or visit nyc.gov/bikes to request the free pamphlet “Bike Smart: The Official Guide to Cycling in New York City” and free bike maps of the city or to find out more information about bicycle safety and rules. Call the 111th Precinct at 718-279-5215 to set up an appointment for bicycle etching.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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