Cycling advocates and community organizers called attention to bike safety by giving away bicycles and equipment Saturday in Huntington Station.
Safety advocates say they want to amend New York’s laws to better protect cyclists and increase driver awareness of bicyclists on streets throughout Long Island.
Angela Satcher, organizer of the safety fair at St. Hugh of Lincoln Church, said the event was aimed at assisting bicycle commuters and raising drivers’ awareness around Huntington.
Saturday’s event drew about 150 people through the afternoon, some receiving reflectors, vests, lights and bicycles. It was sponsored by the New York Bicycling Coalition and other community groups.
Satcher said about 20 collisions with bicycles and pedestrians had occurred in Huntington Station in the past four years. She wants to focus on commuters who ride with traffic daily, she said.
Advocates say parts of Long Island have among the highest rates of bicycle crashes because of its large population and dark roads. Last month, a sport utility vehicle crashed into two bicyclists, killing a woman biker, in Hicksville.
“It’s so important we come together and promote safe conditions between drivers and bicyclists every day,” Satcher said. “We want to show there’s a need for bike safety and events like this in other towns and cities.”
Suffolk County police with the Second Precinct in Huntington Station inspected and measured bikes and helmets for children during the fair.
“We’re here to raise awareness of the rules of the road,” officer Drew Fiorillo said. “We want to make people aware of cyclist rules and, if they are aware, enforce those rules.”
The Huntington Station-based Bikes For Kids donated six bikes, some raffled off and others given to needy children.
Khalil and his sister Kira Bellamy, ages 4 and 6, of Huntington each won bikes in the raffle. Their father, Nehemiah Bellamy, said it would help them ride safely after they were given helmets, locks and reflectors.
“Safety is always a first priority so it’s comforting to have these tools to help keep them from falling,” Bellamy said.