Now you can park your bike at work

Cyclists will now be allowed to park their bikes inside their office buildings during the workday, thanks to a new law signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in August.

“Biking is a great way to get to work in New York City, and this new law makes it easier for workers to commute on two wheels instead of four,” said NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Robert LiMandri. “By creating a safe, secure place for cyclists to store their bikes, it will help to promote alternative modes of transportation and a healthy, active lifestyle for millions of New Yorkers.”

Sponsored by Councilmember David Yassky and guided by Councilmember John Liu, the Transportation Committee Chair, the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law strives to increase bicycle commuting by helping cyclists acquire access to protected parking while at work. Commuter cycling in New York has speedily increased to 26 percent in the last year alone, more than doubling since 2005.

“A lack of secure bike access and parking at the office is one of the biggest deal-breakers for commuters who want to get to work by bike,” said NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “While commuter cycling continues to grow, this new law unlocks a barrier that has stopped an untold number of bike commutes before they even started.”

As part of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC agenda and one of the goals of DOT’s strategic plan to double bike-commuting levels by 2012 and triple them by 2017, the new law is part of the city’s efforts to increase commuter cycling. Employers can even benefit from the new law since aerobic exercise provided by bike riding enhances health consequences and possibly lowers health insurance costs.

“Allowing bicycles in buildings is an effective way to encourage cycling,” said Yassky. “This legislation is an extremely realistic effort to cut emissions, improve air quality, maximize public transportation and ease congestion, reaping tremendous environmental and quality of life benefits for New Yorkers.”

Tenants can request bike access through a formal request to their office building owner. The building owner must then grant access to the tenant’s space by elevator or request an exception from the city, being able to provide alternate parking for cyclists. Buildings that wish to grant bicycle access must submit a bicycle access plan to the city. The new law does not apply to residential buildings, commercial office buildings without a freight elevator, or other buildings not primarily composed of offices.

“Bicycle access will finally be required in many office buildings to which New Yorkers would like to commute on two wheels,” said Liu. “This is an important milestone in the series of efforts to encourage alternative transportation and especially to wean people out of individual automobiles.”

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/bikesinbuildings. Online forms to request bike access and the ability to submit a bike access plan or request an exception will be available on the web site beginning December 11.