NYBC Safety Manual

NYBCManual_Cover-Intro-page-001NYBC Manual 2016.10.14 MVS Final

NYBC Safety Manual 2016 Update                        NYBC Safety Manual 2002

Please not that a new set of infographics to complement the Safety Manual update are in production. In the interim please visit an exciting new Toollkit developed by federal US DOT that can provide anyone, from experienced advocate to concerned citizen, with the support and direction needed to make an impact on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure in their community or region.

When NYBC first published this manual over fifteen years ago, it was a truly cutting edge document.  It received a lot of attention around the country because, well, there was really nothing like it at the time.

The first “edition” took a unique holistic and, at the time, realistic look at the challenge of facilitating an approach whereby anyone who picked up this document (later converted to a PDF) – ranging from advocates to bureaucrats – could get a sense of each others needs and perspectives and work together to create a safe and shared multi-modal transportation system that took better care of its most vulnerable users.

It would be an understatement to point out that the bike (and pedestrian) movements have changed dramatically in fifteen years.  There is no doubt that our concerns have become more mainstream and that we have become more sophisticated and more effective in tactics and approach – and, getting real world results.   At the same time, there has been a sea of change in the institutions that administer the (still mostly federal) funds that pay for the maintenance of and improvement to the road system as well as an evolution in laws – .e.g., complete streets, safe passing, safe routes to school – and design guidelines (e.g., NACTO and AASHTO).

Planners and engineers, especially those at the beginning of their careers, increasingly borrow the language of bicycle and pedestrian advocates, and the leaders of government agencies, at all levels in New York, and ever larger numbers of public officials, sound like they are speaking at a bike-ped conference when they appear in public. In a sense, organizations like NYBC have helped “win” the cultural battle yet, sadly, and looking at the big picture, we have only begun to address the built in overwhelming bias that favors asphalt and cars which dominates the funding and organizing paradigm of our transportation system, at all levels of government.

What has not changed is the fundamental real world problem solving and pragmatic approach of NYBC – our organizational zeitgeist has been constant for twenty five years. NYBC has always sought to work with the biggest possible audience, public and private, to craft strategies and dialogue that moves the needle toward a vision where there are no crashes and accidents, and create a transportation environment that enables every New Yorker to ride or walk, for whatever reason – transportation, recreation, tourism, personal wellness – as part of a truly safe and shared multimodal and complete NYS transportation system.

Many thanks to former NYBC Executive Director Josh Wilson for coming up with the idea to update this document.   Thank you as well goes to NYBC Board Member Matt Van Slyke for drawing on his long background as a transportation planner AND bicycle and pedestrian advocate for updating and putting a truly early 21st century spin on the narrative in this document.

NYBC Board Member Emeriti Ivan Vamos, Rich Brustman, Rich DiSarra and Harvey Botzman have, as usual, provided great wisdom and feedback to the finished product.  On a personal note, and somewhat ironically, I was NYBC’s first E/D when this manual was initially published and have now circled back and have the pleasure of playing the same role again with this great organization.

Let’s all use this manual wisely, and links to many other tools that are already up and being adding regularly to the Resource Section of our website.   Together, we can continue to facilitate the dialogue that must take place if we want to finish the job of insuring safe bicycling (and safe walking) for all New Yorkers!


Paul Winkeller

Executive Director