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World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

We ask that all friends of safer streets sign the following online petition to tell the Governor that you want her to sign Assemblymember Fahy’s Complete Streets Funding Bill:  https://p2a.co/rkhfcrb.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  Press Release >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

For Immediate Release

November 18, 2022

Contact

Ed Brennan

President Albany Bicycle Coalition

518-416-5692

edpbrennan@yahoo.com

November 18, 2022. Academy Park, Albany, NY.  Today, local members of the NYS Safe Streets Coalition, The Albany Bicycle Coalition, Walkable Albany, Parks & Trails New York, New York Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, family members of traffic violence victims and others gathered in recognition of the victims of traffic violence in the City of Albany and the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.  

We read the names of pedestrians and cyclists who died in traffic collisions in Albany since 2017.  We asked that Albany and New York State take the steps necessary to prevent needless deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic crashes in our City.  All the citizens of Albany have a right to safe mobility.  

We need action now because traffic violence is getting worse and hitting home.

  • Nationally, in the past two years, almost 20 percent more people died in traffic crashes, according to National Safety Council (NSC) estimates. That’s 42 thousand people. And the number is rising. 
  • An estimated 7% more people have been killed in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same quarter last year. This may be the highest number of first quarter fatalities in twenty years.
  • So far in 2022, Albany has seen the senseless loss of Tanisha Brathwaite, Kathleen McBride and Larry Cunningham to traffic violence.  

“New Yorkers are at serious risk of injury or death due to rising traffic violence – according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, crashes killing pedestrians increased 46% from 2010 to 2020, compared to just a 5% increase for all other crash fatalities,” said Assemblymember Pat Fahy (D-Albany). “By developing our communities into more walkable, multi-modal transportation-friendly places to be – we’re saving lives and reducing traffic violence by keeping pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists safe on our streets. Specifically, legislation I sponsor that was passed by the state legislature this year to expand the use of complete street design in transportation projects is important to building a more walkable and multi-modal New York and reducing traffic violence. I thank the Albany Bicycle Coalition and Safe Streets Coalition for continuing to bring attention to traffic violence in our communities and advocate for a state where all of us can feel and be safe on our roads.”

We ask that all friends of safer streets sign the following online petition to tell the Governor that you want her to sign Assemblymember Fahy’s Complete Streets Funding Bill:  https://p2a.co/rkhfcrb.

Traffic violence is a preventable public health crisis. There are proven steps that can be taken to save lives and prevent serious injuries.  On World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, communities all over the globe are organizing events to demand change.  This Day of Remembrance was brought to the U.S. by the Families for Safe Streets, a national organization that was founded by the families of loved ones who were killed or injured in crashes in New York. These are the demands we presented to Mayor Sheehan and the Albany City Council to make our roads safer for all that use them:

  • Reducing the Citywide Speed Limit to 25 MPH.   This will prevent collisions and make them less serious.  The slower the speed limit the greater the field of vision for drivers and the less devastating the result of any impact.  Only 1 in 10 pedestrians will survive a collision at 40 mph.   At the current City speed limit of 30 mph 5 out of 10 survive.  At 20 mph 9 out of 10 survive.
  • Making Safety Analysis and Improvement Part of Regular Road Maintenance.  Many road departments have a tendency to just repave and repaint streets exactly as they were.  This has the effect of preserving existing dangers instead of fixing safety problems when it is most cost effective.
  • Narrowing Crossing Distances and Daylighting Intersections.  State law prohibits parking or standing within 20 feet of a crosswalk or 30 feet of a stop or yield sign, however these laws are routinely ignored.   Albany can make intersections safer by actively preventing such parking through deployment of paint, bollards, bike racks, curb extensions and eco-friendly rain gardens.  These methods also narrow intersections allowing vulnerable road users to cross roads with less exposure to traffic.
  • Deploying Speed Humps.  The City should expand its test deployment of speed humps to other parts of the City that are troubled by dangerous speeders.
  • Improving Sidewalks and Crosswalks.  The City has too many areas where crosswalks and sidewalks are in a state of neglect or non-existent.  
  • Deploying Pedestrian Priority Traffic Signals.  Our busy pedestrian intersections should have a “leading pedestrian interval” when all traffic has a red light to enhance the visibility of pedestrians in the intersection and to reinforce their right-of-way over turning vehicles
  • Improving Bicycle Infrastructure.  Albany needs to do more to separate bicyclists from motor traffic.  The City’s major roads should have separate bicycle lanes and preferably protected bicycle lanes.
  • Albany Must Have a Plan for Implementation of its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.  The Master Plan did a great job of identifying needs and solutions for the City’s lackluster bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.  The City needs a plan of action and budget to address the needs identified.  
  • Deploying Speed Cameras.  Speeding has become increasingly problematic since COVID.  We have been told our police department is short staffed and has a limited capacity to attend to traffic enforcement.  Speed cameras need to be deployed to identify those deadly speeders that our police cannot.
  • Back in Angle Parking.  Reverse angle parking provides safer roadways since drivers are able to see other vehicles and cyclists easier (and much sooner) when exiting out of their parking spots as compared to standard angle parking.

On the state level we asked for the following:

  • The Governor’s signature on the Complete Streets funding bill passed by the NY Assembly and Senate and sponsored by our own Assemblymember Patricia Fahy.
  • Passage of the Complete Streets Maintenance Bill so that funding is permitted for cost effective safety improvements during repaving and other maintenance projects.
  • Passage of the Crash Victims Bill of Rights to guarantee crash victims and their families rights to incident reports and a voice in legal proceedings.
  • Passage of the Safe Passage Bill requiring drivers to provide a minimum of three feet when passing cyclists.
  • Passage of an Upstate Speed Camera Bill allowing municipalities outside of New York City to opt for speed cameras to identify deadly speeders.

We recognize that the City of Albany and New York State have taken some steps to improve safety and we appreciate those champions of safe streets that are among our elected and public officials.  However, the endless and increasing toll of needless deaths and injuries from traffic violence demands that the above steps be taken, that efforts be redoubled and that greater resources be applied to to prevent these tragedies.

****************************************

On Friday, 11/18/22,we will gather to honor the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (which falls on Sunday, 11/20). The Albany Bicycle Coalition, Walkable Albany, Parks and Trails New York, and others will gather at noon in Academy Park at Eagle and Washington Avenues, across Eagle from Albany City Hall, and across Washington Ave from East Capitol Park and the NYS Capitol. We will recognize the victims of traffic violence in the City of Albany and the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. We will read the names of pedestrians and cyclists who have died in traffic collisions in Albany since 2017. We will ask that Albany take the steps necessary to prevent needless deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic crashes in our city.

We ask that the City adopt a Vision Zero Strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.  To be effective this Vision Zero Strategy needs to include a regularly updated action plan with action items that are addressed as a normal part of budgeted road and sidewalk work.  The City of Hoboken, NJ adopted such a strategy and has not had a traffic death since 2018.  Following the example of Hoboken and other cities, these are practical and often inexpensive steps Albany needs to adopt for safe mobility:

  • Reducing the Citywide Speed Limit to 25 MPH (Hoboken lowered theirs to 20 mph).   This will prevent collisions and make them less serious.  The slower the speed limit the greater the field of vision for drivers and the less devastating the result of any impact.  Only 1 in 10 pedestrians will survive a collision at 40 mph.   At the current City speed limit of 30 mph 5 out of 10 survive.  At 20 mph 9 out of 10 survive.
  • Making Safety Analysis and Improvement Part of Regular Road Maintenance.  Many road departments have a tendency to just repave and repaint streets exactly as they were.  This has the effect of preserving existing dangers instead of fixing safety problems when it is most cost effective.
  • Narrowing Crossing Distances and Daylighting Intersections.  State law prohibits parking or standing within 20 feet of a crosswalk or 30 feet of a stop or yield sign, however these laws are routinely ignored.   Like Hoboken, Albany can make intersections safer by actively preventing such parking through deployment of paint, bollards, bike racks, curb extensions and eco-friendly rain gardens.  These methods also narrow intersections allowing vulnerable road users to cross roads with less exposure to traffic.
  • Deploying Speed Humps.  The City should expand its test deployment of speed humps to other parts of the City that are troubled by dangerous speeders.
  • Improving Sidewalks and Crosswalks.  The City has too many areas where crosswalks and sidewalks are in disrepair or non-existent.  
  • Deploying Pedestrian Priority Traffic Signals.  Our busy pedestrian intersections should have a “leading pedestrian interval” when all traffic has a red light to enhance the visibility of pedestrians in the intersection and to reinforce their right-of-way over turning vehicles
  • Improving Bicycle Infrastructure.  Albany needs to do more to separate bicyclists from motor traffic.  The City’s major roads should have separate bicycle lanes and preferably protected bicycle lanes.
  • Albany Must Have a Plan for Implementation of its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.  The Master Plan did a great job of identifying needs and solutions for the City’s lackluster bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.  The City needs a plan of action and budget to address the needs identified.  
  • Deploying Speed Cameras.  Speeding has become increasingly problematic since COVID.  We have been told our police department is also short staffed and has a limited capacity to attend to traffic enforcement.  Speed cameras need to be deployed to identify those deadly speeders that our police cannot.
  • Back in Angle Parking.  Reverse angle parking provides safer roadways since drivers are able to see other vehicles and cyclists easier (and much sooner) when exiting out of their parking spots as compared to standard angle parking.

All the citizens of Albany have a right to safe mobility. The Albany Bicycle Coalition is committed to safe cycling and walking in all parts of the city through proper road design, effective signalization, reduction in motor vehicle speed (and thus in the severity of injuries when crashes do occur), strict enforcement of impaired driving rules, removal of judges who go light on traffic violators who put others at risk, revocation of operator’s license for repeat offenders, mandatory and continuous training of law enforcement on bicyclists’ rights, reduction in motor vehicle parking that hinders clear vision or puts use of street space over safety, hiring of investigators skilled in crash assessment and who are not allied with law enforcement or traffic engineering, and programs to educate cyclists in proper and safe riding skills.

Here is the list of victims we remembered (from 2017 on):

  • February 4, 2017 Rajine Martinez, 21, was struck and killed in a hit and run collision on Washington Park Road at 4am.  See Times Union Monday Feb 6th pg A7.

  • July 22, 2017 Edston J. Kirnon, 42,  Bicyclist collided with the side of a CDTA bus on N. Pearl St., Albany.

  • October 19, 2017 Roger L. Sawyer, age 30,  Bicyclist run down by SUV, Washington Ave. Ext., Albany.  See Times Union, Saturday, October 21, 2017, Page: D2.

  • February 20, 2018 Ludmilla Vink, 92, was identified Wednesday as the victim in the fatal car-pedestrian crash on Washington Avenue in Albany. See Times Union Thursday, February 22, 2018;  Page: C2

  • August 8, 2019 Unidentified Pedestrian, 67, A man was seriously injured when he was hit by a truck Thursday near the intersection of Madison Avenue and Dove Streets. The incident happened around 1 p.m. After being treated at the scene by rescuers, the 67-year-old man was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital by ambulance. His condition was not immediately available. Times Union Friday, August 09, 2019, Page: C4

  • September 24, 2019 Unidentified Pedestrian, 50, man was hit by a car and killed Tuesday evening along Washington Avenue Extension, city police said. Police said they believe the man was walking south and trying to cross when he was struck by a car driving west. Times Union Thursday, September 26, 2019; Page: C5

  • May 21, 2020 Richard Harmon, 76, hit and killed North Allen and Manning. Times Union, Saturday, May 23, 2020, D3

  • September 24, 2020 Unidentified Pedestrian Death.  Per the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Pedestrian a pedestrian was killed because of a collision between 7 and 8 pm on Church Street in Albany.

  • March 2021 Unidentified Pedestrian Death. Per the New York State Traffic Safety Statistical Repository, there was a pedestrian death in Albany during this month, though we could not find a report in the local newspaper.

  • April 15, 2021 Sa’Nya Blaylock, 16, a student at Albany High School died when she was struck by a vehicle while crossing to the bus stop after her shift at Kentucky Fried Chicken on 1235 Central Avenue

  • May 2021 Unidentified Pedestrian Death. Per the New York State Traffic Safety Statistical Repository, there was a pedestrian death in Albany during this month, though we could not find a report in the local newspaper.

  • July 7, 2022 Kathleen McBride, 52, a pedestrian struck by a van. McBride sustained serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene on Central Avenue

*** END OF LIST ***

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Filed under Activisim, Death on the Road, Riding in Albany, safety, Support the Cause

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

The fine fall weather provides opportunities for some nice riding whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are tips to encourage your riding and to keep you safe:

  • Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low-light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are primarily to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.
  • Add a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  • Keep your re-chargeables charged. Replace the batteries in the rest.
  • Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  • Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  • Watch other people on bicycles and judge their “visibility index” as a guide to improving your own.
  • Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  • Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
  • Be fair to people in cars – let them see you. Driving is challenging at this time of year. Don’t join the “ghost bike” program.
  • You will ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Use the layering technique.
  • As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a reflective vest from your locally owned hardware or big box home center for around $20.00. You might add this vest to your year-around “kit.”
  • Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  • Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes, ruts, utility caps, and craters in the paved surface. City streets are worse than ever so watch for crevices, bumps, utility covers, patches, and so on. Good front lighting will help here!
  • Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.
  • Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  • You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears more quickly). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them).
  • Consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  • Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will end or start a ride in low-light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low-light conditions.
  • When riding into that low fall sun, remember that the people in cars behind may not see you, as they also will be blinded.
  • Plan your braking and turns to avoid a spill.
  • Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  • Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

Other winter riding tips –

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the free, interactive CapitalNYBikeMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/upcoming-events/   

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Filed under Comings and Goings, Lighting, safety, Winter Cycling

Vanity, Thy Name is Gum Wall

“Vanity, thy name is gumwall.” With apologies to Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare for this corruption of a misquote, no one, not even the tire experts at “Bicycle Quarterly” suggests that there is any performance benefit to gum wall or tan wall tires. The more accurate and true quote fits here: “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1). Why else would one seek out an attractive tire in favor of those that are known to perform superbly? 

Dream Tire

THE REALITY – Tan Wall, Gum Wall – there’s little evidence that under either term this tire feature adds anything to performance. The esteemed journal “Bicycle Quarterly” (https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2013/10/14/in-living-color-bicycle-quarterly/ ) has tested every aspect of tire performance EXCEPT this one, so arguing that the color of the sidewall makes a difference is coffee time chit chat. Then again, appearance is important to performance so who’s to argue? See –  https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2013/06/05/eat-your-heats-out-black-tyre-people/

THE NEED – My Brompton came fitted with Schwalbe Kojaks (size: ETRTO 32-349, 16″ X 1-1/4) as ordered. Since these tires are basically slicks with no tread, they don’t look much different than an inner tube on the rim. With no tread wear to measure, it is hard to test the Kojak’s degree of wear until some cord starts showing – which it had not. But having discovered the Schwalbe Marathon Racer (size: ETRTO 35-349, 16 X 1-1/3) while preparing for the Kojaks’ inevitable end of life, I put it in the back of my mind this was the tire for me. I had experience with Schwalbe as a brand in addition to several credible YouTube analyses supporting the contention that the Marathon Racers were a good choice for the Brompton. (for a somewhat explanation of tire sizing, go here – https://www.getmefixed.co.uk/wheel-sizes-explained-etrto-imperial-radius/). In this case, the ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization) inner diameter spec (349 mm in both cases) is of no value because the issue, as we will see, is with outer diameter, nominally both 16”).

THE BEST – The YouTube channel 2Bikes4Adventure (the “2Bikes” are Bromptons and the “adventure” is touring on them) has a video titled “The BEST TIRE for your Brompton” The hosts do a commendable job of analyzing competing 16” tires based on considerations of weight, puncture resistance, rolling resistance, and cost. This is not just another “everything is lovely” semi-promo review. This YouTube channel, 2bikes4adventure, suffers a little bit from the pressure by YouTube to have very short videos. Nonetheless, the program covers six different tires in the 16-in category as follows: Schwalbe’s Marathon and Marathon Plus, Continental’s Urban Contact and then the Racer, Kojak, Marathon One all by Schwalbe. They describe how each part of the evaluation was conducted and then graphically compare the different tires on their performance against each functional test – rolling resistance, puncture resistance, weight, cost, etc.

They note that the Racer is 35 gr heavier than the Kojak, for example. For puncture protection, they cite tests using a graduated plunger to pierce the inner tube and anti-puncture layer while measuring both the amount of penetration and the force needed to reach that depth. They allude to a pinch flat test wherein a tire is dropped on two sharp edges (as in a pothole). With the exception of falling into the ”more-psi-means-more-speed” trap, they do a nice review on the Tan Wall.

Kojak – Tan Wall

BROMPTON SCHWALBE MARATHON RACER TAN WALL – (Brompton Schwalbe Marathon Racer Tan Wall – YouTube ) The Tan Wall was originally unique to Brompton when introduced in 2020 and was fitted to the light-weight special edition Chapter 3 bicycle (https://us.brompton.com/bikes/special-editions/chpt3 ). With a black titanium rear frame and fork, this model has a stripped back look with (significantly as will be seen) no mudguards (fenders) or front luggage carrier. It has premium grips, saddle, hinge clamps, and rear frame lever. The Tan Wall was otherwise not available to the public. \

A Pretty Pair

As a safety aside, the Tan Walls do not have a reflective sidewall element as is common with many contemporary tires – including the Kojaks.

THE FIRM – Schwalbe (in English, “Swallow”) has been around since 1922 under the name Ralf BOHLE GMBH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung  literally, a “company with limited liability”). In recent years, the company has dedicated itself to bicycle and wheelchair tires and tubes. It is headquartered near Köln, but its manufacturing is through collaboration with firms in Korea and Indonesia producing 14,000,000 tires per year. Schwalbe introduced the “Marathon” in 1983, the “Racer” in 2018, and the Tan Wall in 2019/2020. All three models rate high for puncture and pinch flat protection. The latter being of interest to riders in our local third-world-style roadways.

Fancy Schmancy Packaging

INSTANT APPEAL – When the Tan Wall option came along, my decision making was all over. A couple days after ordering them from my local bike shop, I got an email saying the tires are ready. So with the two new Marathon Racers and two new tubes I headed home to do the installation. That was to be postponed until the following day having done nothing more than open and unfold the tires and look at them. Unmounted, they impressed me as being quite large, and in the middle of the night I started to wonder if I was going to have a fender interference problem as is sometimes the case with even slightly larger tires.

INSTALLATION – The installation of the new tires went fairly smoothly until I remounted the rear wheel and heard the ominous rub, rub, rub.

Clearance Issue (hole is for mud flap mount)

No Fender Adjustment

The Brompton has a stubby mudguard extending horizontally from the rear fender and held by a 4 mm bolt, nut, and two flat washers. (Brompton likes washers – there are 13 on each of the rear EZ wheels.) Some investigation showed that there was very little adjustment possible with the fender relative to wheel and tire. Any effort to raise the fender runs into the unmovable luggage rack. Afterall, these are not SKS fenders (the best on the Planet for any Bike), but a proprietary Brompton design.*

The bracket that holds the fender closest to its rear extremity is attached to the luggage rack and the holes in the luggage rack and the fender brace are pretty much aligned with little play (aka “room for adjustment”). Aesthetically, the curve of the wheel and tire and that of the fender should have the same center point (the axle) and a constant fender-tire gap. Nonetheless, with the mudguard moved and the very slight play in the fender support taken up, the rubbing disappeared. But wait; what about the horizontal mud flap and the hole in the fender? Should I be forced to ride my Brompton without its mudguard on the rear fender? Am I to sacrifice a dry back to the Vanity of the Tan Wall Schwalbes? The answer clearly is “no” – I have a Brompton with fenders, and I want to continue to have a Brompton with fenders.

Horizontal Mud Flap + Hardware

RESOLUTION – Frame manufacturers who provide for fender mounting (with braze ons, etc.) forget that there has to be room between the frame and attached component (like wheels) for the fenders and their mounting hardware. Having struggled in the past with clearance between such mounting hardware and the frame bridge, I was somewhat equipped to address the Tan Wall-Brompton issue. The original stubby mudguard mounting hardware consisted of a round-head, hex drive bolt from the outside passing through a flat washer, the fender, the mudguard, another washer, and a 4 mil nut. Using the past solution, grinding off most of the bolt head and switching it around so the head was on the fender’s inside gave enough clearance for the tire to rotate freely. It is necessary to leave enough of the head to use a hex wrench for tightening or loosening in the future. Of course, a plain exposed nut would not do, so a substituted cap or acorn nut returned the mounting to functional acceptability. /

THE FUTUREThe tan is not worth the squeeze. At this point in the saga, the Brompton is rideable. But given the very tight non-rub clearance obtained and with fluctuations in weight, tire pressure, tire  and wear, and the security of the fender mount nut-and-bolt arrangement, there’s a risk of the problem returning. For other Bromtoneers, variation in manufacturing of tires and bicycles or other irregularities may preclude the simple “solution” reported here. Bicycle shops and owners would be well advised to remember this lesson if they are fitting Brompton Schwalbe Marathon Racer Tan Walls or Brompton Schwalbe Marathon Racers. Sadly, were I to have the opportunity to reconsider this (rather expensive) acquisition, I would have stayed with the Kojaks – don’t mess with success.

_____

* Because all components and aftermarket customizations have to pass the “folded/unfolded” test, much of the Brompton is unique to it. Consequently, one cannot just throw on, say, a mirror and expect no issues. To allow a complete fold, one must test for add-ons like a bottle cage or lights.

Vane it may be, but also good looking

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Filed under Bike Tech, maintenance, Product Review

Ride On QE II

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by | September 9, 2022 · 1:30 pm

Multiuse Path Etiquette

The approaching spring weather suggests that trips to the nearest multi-use path are in the near future. With that in mind, it’s time to remind ourselves that multi-use means just that – people will be there with a multiplicity of modes of transport ranging from babies in carriages to mobility devices to road warriors on carbon-fiber bikes. It is a good time to review some of the appropriate protocols or rules for using a multi-use path.

The very first one and probably the most important to both walkers/joggers and cyclists is to keep to the right. Sometimes walkers are confused since they were raised to walk on the left side facing traffic. However, that is on a road or street with no sidewalks. A multi-use path is not a roadway so walk on the right and ride on the right.

Here are some other tips:

Walkers –

  • It’s great to walk in twos or threes for the social benefit, but keep in mind the need to move to the right into single file to allow faster moving traffic – generally bicycles, skaters and joggers – to pass safely by.
  • As needed, just move to the right trail edge. Don’t scatter in different directions, and divide to different sides of the path or stand still in the middle like a bunny in the headlights!
  • Stay alert to what is behind you.
  • Small children and dogs on leashes need to be kept under control for their safety and for the safety of others on the trail. This is especially true when a dog is on a retractable lead as it allows the animal to range across the trail forming a barrier.

Cyclists –

The main rule is to be aware that you are traveling faster than other trail users. You are obligated to extend courtesy to them as you pass by.

  • Always signal your presence by ringing your bell, calling out, or clearly indicating you’re passing on the left – “on your left!”
  • Avoid startling those being overtaken.
  • Always yield to pedestrians and mobility devices – no exceptions.
  • If traveling two or more abreast, be prepared to single up when overtaking other path users, approaching other users, or when being overtaken by faster riders.
  • Experienced riders who are out on training rides must remember that the multi-use path is not a racetrack and that you put yourself and others at risk by riding at speeds that are far in excess of all other users. Nobody wants to get hit by the combined weight of cyclist and bicycle moving at any speed – especially if the rider is using a peddle assist bike with the added weight of a battery, motor, heavier frame, etc.
  • If you need high speed training rides, choose the appropriate time and place.

Both Walkers and Riders –

  • If stopping, get off the trail to allow others to pass by.
  • At dusk and in the dark, have a light front and rear.
  • Bring out any trash you bring to the trail (plus a little more if you can). Take it with you or deposit in appropriate container when you leave.
  • Those who bring dogs need to clean up and discard or carry out any “by-product.”
  • If you reach the trailhead by a motor vehicle, park where indicated and ensure that your vehicle is not blocking another.
  • If you come across someone having difficulty, check to see if you can offer needed assistance.
  • Stay off private property. Be courteous to local residents and respect their property.

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Filed under Capital Trails-New York, Editorial, safety