Suffolk County officials took steps to encourage county workers and residents to find alternative ways to get around Friday, Long Island’s seventh annual Car Free Day.

County representatives planned to visit several schools throughout Suffolk on bicycle Friday to give away bike helmets and reflective safety vests to students and adults. In addition, 30 Suffolk Police officers were deployed on bikes, rather than patrol cars, officials said.

The county planned to post new road signs alerting drivers entering into communities participating in Suffolk’s recently launched bike sharing program.

“Car Free Day reminds us to consider the impact of our reliance on automobiles,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “In Suffolk County, we are actively working to embrace cutting-edge transportation alternatives that better connect our residents, while putting an emphasis on safety.”

Observed in more than 2,800 cities and 54 countries around the world, Car Free Day aims to promote transportation alternatives in order to reduce traffic, conserve energy and reduce harmful emissions.  

When Suffolk drivers do return to their cars, they may come across $14 million in recent highway improvements.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced the completion of two road and bridge projects aimed to improve safety and boost the local economy. The North Ocean Avenue/Rte. 83 bridge over the Long Island Expressway in the Town of Brookhaven recently underwent $7.6 million in repairs. And a portion of Rte. 231/Deer Park Avenue in the towns of Babylon and Huntington also was recently rehabilitated, Cuomo’s office said.

“Maintaining our infrastructure is key to supporting Long Island businesses and helping to keep residents and visitors safe on the road,” Cuomo said.

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