Category Archives: safety

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

Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act

Your support is essential to the success of a major new roadway safety campaign. Even if you do not ride a bicycle and do not walk except to and from your car, roadway safety still has to be a concern. Please take a few minutes to sign on to the campaign here – http://nysafestreets.org.  and select TAKE ACTION.

As motor vehicles have grown larger, with increases in distracted driving and speeding, more cyclists and pedestrians are being seriously injured and killed. While we have seen some minor improvements to pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, our roads are still largely designed and built to carry motor vehicles and are unsafe for all other users.

Nicholas Richichi, age 53, 10/29/07

For these reasons, the Albany Bicycle Coalition has joined Walkable Albany and a statewide coalition of bicycling and other road safety advocates in our common effort to pass the NY Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act (CVRSA). The seven bills in the CVRSA will permit municipalities the option to lower their speed limits, mandate 3-foot clearance when passing cyclists, support Complete Streets initiatives that improve road safety for all users, better educate drivers to protect vulnerable road users, and provide support to those personally impacted.

As part of The New York Safe Streets Coalition’s launch of the campaign for the CVRSA, Albany Bicycle Coalition released the following short video:  https://youtu.be/2qpVRHWNd1A.

For further CVRSA information, see http://nysafestreets.org.

The complete set of bills in the CVRSA are as follows:

Speed Limit Authorizes cities, villages and towns (outside NYC) to reduce the speed limit to twenty-five miles per hour.S02021 (May)A01007 (Paulin)
Sammy’s Law Allows lower life-saving speed limits in NYCS524 (Hoylman)A4655 (Gottfried)
Complete StreetsIncreases state funding where the municipality agrees to fund a complete street design feature. S3897 (Kennedy)A8936 (Fahy)
Complete Streets MaintenanceIncludes, when possible, complete street design features in resurfacing, maintenance, and pavement recycling projects and further enable safe access to public roads for all users.S5130 (Kennedy)A7782 (Rivera)
Safe PassageRequire drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance of min. 3 feet.S4529 (Harckham)A547 (Steck)
DMV Pre- Licensing CourseEducates NY drivers about safely interacting with vulnerable road usersS1078A (Gounardes)A5084/7032 (Gallagher)
Crash Victim Bill of RightsGuarantee rights & a voice for crash victims and their loved ones in legal proceedingsS8152 (Hoylman)Glick

Join the Push for Safer Streets for All – To do your part in pushing for safe roads, you need to contact both of your state legislators to express your support for the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act.

Since many organizations that are not primarily involved with cycling, walking, or roadway safety should still have an interest in this initiative, you may want to sign your organization on to the campaign. You can complete this form.

Diva De Loayza, age 40, 6/6/07

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Filed under Activisim, Death on the Road, safety, Support the Cause

How the Grinch Stole [Christmas] Safety

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Safety

[Choir of pedestrians and bicyclists]

“I’m dreaming of a safe Christmas just like the ones I used to . . . (gulp) . . .  (gasp)  . . . YIKES!“

[Grinch]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is grinch.jpg

Hey, you bicyclists cut the din,

Can’t you see the mood I’m in?

Bicycles, bicycles everywhere.

Riding around without a care.

I’ll tell you right off the bat,

We’ll soon put a stop to that!

No delay for cars is what I say,

So get your two wheels out of the way.

E-bikes what a curse,

If I see one more. I’ll need a nurse!

Complain, complain – Oh my head

So what if a few of you are dead?

If it’s too unsafe for you to ride,

Then just go over to the side and hide

Oh, you’re such an infernal pain

But I’ll throw in one more shared lane.

Buffered Lanes? Not so fast,

How will cars zip past?

Traffic circles they’re all the rage,

As you ride through, you’ll certainly age.

Traffic circles and (Glenmont) roundabouts, they’re the best

Try to ride through them – be my guest.

We design ‘em, you can bet,

I haven’t seen one that’s bikeable yet.

Four-lane highways they’re the pip

Too bad if you get hit.

No bike lanes? That’s tough,

Good old sharrows are more than enough.

Buffered lanes now that’s a riot,

Don’t hold your breath until I try it.

Complete streets that’s my scam

I’ll “consider your needs” and then I’ll scram!

Vision zero that’s a joke,

Don’t you realize we’re broke?

Broke that is until a new car way

Causes our minds to sway!

I’ve got my engineering manuals at hand

And they don’t cover your rowdy band.

Gotta problem with Central Ave.?

Why that’s the safest road we have!

About livable streets you’re free to dream,

But rest assured that’s not my scheme. 

A ped-bike master plan will calm your fears,

Don’t get excited – it’s smoke and mirrors.

On our plan from two thousand nine

We’re been doing just fine.

Added bike lanes for five miles

Doesn’t that bring you smiles?

Bicycle planning, we do a lot

But our action is mostly “not.”

Many plans on the shelf

Guarded by my elf.

Eco freaks with hearts of Fire?

Well guess what, I’m a denier.

Dying from pollution?

Bicycles are not my solution.

SUVs now that’s my Style,

I think I’ll go out and cruise a while.

Miles per gallon – not my issue,

If you don’t agree, here’s a tissue.

Move all those cars, that’s the need,

We let them go at any speed.

Lower the speed limit 

Sure… in just a minute.

Bike Lanes with no buffer?

Well that’s too bad – you’ll have to suffer

You got doored

Oh so sorry, but I’m just floored. 

Bike lane symbols faded away?
We’ll re-do them . . .  someday.

Can’t safely ride to work?

Well take the bus – what a jerk.

Hit a cyclist they’ll throw the book

Say you didn’t and you’re off the hook.

New Scotland Ave now that’s for parking 

St. Peter’s got the key so hearken.

Safe passing distance I’ll fight that one

Fight so hard it’ll never get done.

Buffered lanes, now that’s a riot

Don’t hold your breath until I try it.

Are cycle tracks what you want to see?

That’s a good laugh for my friends at dee oh tee. 

Reduce the speed,

What’s the need?

Car lane, parking lane, turn lane, more

But for cyclist anything at all is all chore.

You pay your taxes, and we’re glad 

But how we spend them will make you mad.

Roads, streets, turns galore

All I say is more, more, more.

Got hit by a car, slammed by a door

Well that’s too bad – I hope you’re sore. 

Albany, Schenectady, Guilderland too,

Sorry but we don’t have time for you. 

Colonie, Troy, Bethlehem are a riot,

Plenty of cars and trucks but no road diet.

But that’s too bad if you want peace,

Our disdain for you will never cease

I hope this tale doesn’t make you sad

But after all, it’s not that bad. 

Want to cycle safely on a trip?

Well go to Holland on a ship.

Separated Lanes they’re the best

But not in my plan like all the rest.

We can’t cater to just a hobby

We have to kowtow to the car Lobby.

Traffic’s dangerous, that’s a shame

There’s plenty of us to share the blame.

Hey, you guys are really nuts,

Get outta here before I kick your butts.

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To end on a brighter note of what COULD BE, please go here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzyIFqXps_A

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Filed under Editorial, Riding in Albany, safety

Deborah Carpenter – Hit and Run 9/1/21

A utilitarian cyclist, Deborah Carpenter, who (apparently) was struck down by a motor vehicle while riding home from work. The crash was near 847 Loudon Rd, Colonie. She was left in the road alive but in a coma and in critical condition. Deborah faithfully rides her bicycle to and from work.

Photo courtesy of the Times Union

From the report, it is hard to conceive that this was a bicycle-only event. Details hopefully to follow from police. Read on – https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Police-ask-for-witnesses-in-bike-crash-16444059.php

Several cyclists wrote in with these comments:

From DD: I live not that far from the Latham Traffic Circle and frequently have to deal with the potential hazards of that intersection. I experienced a minor incident a couple of years ago where I was heading North on Route 9. I entered the Circle when a car coming up from behind through the Circle on my left; decided to make a right onto Route 2 heading East. I was thereby forced to alter my course at the last second and turn to the right. I was side swiped by the car and was knocked to the ground. The car did stop and I was able to get up off the pavement before the passing of additional traffic. The driver apologized and asked if I was all right. Both the car and the bike had minor scratches and I experienced some minor cuts and bruises; but was basically all right. I saw no need to get the insurance companies involved. He asked again if I was all right before we continued on our ways. I am NOT a fan of traffic circles. I am cautious when dealing with traffic circles and depending on the time of day and volume of traffic will go out of my way to detour around them. [Emphasis added.] I sincerely hope for a speedy recovery for the injured cyclist.

Photo courtesy of the Times Union

From IV: I heard a newscast, but missed the TU article. Please let me know if I can donate to a fund for Deborah. RE the exam of the bike by police: sometimes if only the back tire is hit, no scratches, paint chips etc. are found, however the rear wheel is significantly out of line with the brakes out of line as well. (My back wheel after the crash impacting me was greatly distorted.) It is worth getting that thought to Colonie Police.

From JF: So awful to hear. Hope they get the information they need to move forward.

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Filed under Colonie, Ghost Bikes, Ride to Work, safety, utilitarian cyclists

Changes to South End Connector – City of Albany

Following substantial completion of the South End Connector, the Albany Bicycle Coalition detected a number of issues needing resolution. We had identified some of these even before design and construction began on the Connector. On 9/17/20, we asked the city to explore how we might get these projects on the city’s “to do” list for 2020-21.

Key members of the Albany Bicycle Coalition have had some considerable experience with the new South End Connector and many years of observation and riding in the S. Pearl St./Connector area. We believe the city should make several modifications to realize the full potential of this new asset. We detail these below. They include maintenance, safety issues, signage/lighting/striping, a new interchange, and traffic control.

Our major concerns are safety issues related to the Broadway/Quay St. and the S. Pearl St.-South End Connector junction. The Broadway/Quay St. issue derives from the original “all cars-all the time” poor design of this interchange. In fact, it was here that a SUV ran down and killed 60-year-old cyclist Jose Perez on August 3, 2006.

One of the major impetuses for the very conception of the South End Connector was the motor vehicle death of a young lad on S. Pearl St.

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Multiuse Path Maintenance – the City of Albany Department of General Services was quite responsive to our recent (September) call for mowing and cleanup of the median/divider on the I-787 access/frontage road portion of the South End Connector. The city needs to ensure that this maintenance be a regular part of DGS’s role in the area. Glass in the cycle track will continue to plague people on bicycles.

Signage, Lighting, and Striping at S. Pearl St.-South End Connector Intersection – There is a need for signage and re-striping of the crosswalks and possibly new lighting at the intersection of S. Pearl Street and the I-787 access/frontage road. This would alert people in cars who are making both left and right turns from S. Pearl onto the access road that bicyclists and pedestrians could be using the crosswalks. These are swooping turns that are, unfortunately, plentiful in the City of Albany. Motor vehicles traveling north on S. Pearl make the turn at excessive speed. It is awkward for bicyclists wanting to continue north on S. Pearl to see cars coming from the south. (That is, those who are not staying on the Connector beyond this intersection). Similarly, people on bicycles heading south on S. Pearl St. but wanting to enter the Connector going north (i.e., a left turn off S. Pearl St.) have difficulty making a safe turn. Pedestrians also have to look awkwardly to their left before stepping into the crosswalk.

Attention to this intersection (as well as Bassett St. and Broadway/Quay St.) is integral to making the Connector a community/local street asset and not merely a recreational, end-to-end experience. It is part of recognizing that the “South End” needs access to current and future bicycle facilities in the City of Albany.

Pedestrian And Cyclist Entrance/Exit at Bassett St. – To encourage safe access to the Connector and to promote it as a community resource, there needs to be an entrance/exit connecting Bassett St. and the South End Connector. The striped area could be modified easily for this purpose with only the addition of some striping (e.g., a green path) and a “no entry for motor vehicles” sign.

Enhanced Motor Vehicle Traffic Control at Broadway/Quay St. – This intersection has been a barrier for people on bicycles and people walking since its original construction. This long-standing problem predates the South End Connector by many years and was the site where a motor vehicle struck and killed cyclist Jose Perez.

Looking east toward the Hudson River, people in cars swoop off Broadway at high speeds to the right/south. When they make this right turn onto Broadway, they come up on the bicycle rider’s blind side. The only traffic control is a yield sign. This sign is ineffective since it is clear to a driver that there to no motor vehicle traffic to which to yield. At an absolute minimum, a stop sign should replace the yield sign. This alteration is a small task that could be done in an hour or two at minimal cost.

What is not so clear is that the South End Connector channels people on bicycles directly to a cross walk which is somewhat hidden from people in cars. While riders are scanning to their left and rear, they also have to be alert to motor vehicles coming north on Broadway to continue on Quay St. or Broadway into the city proper. Here we need more demonstrative traffic control.

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Filed under Activisim, Equity, safety, South End Bike Link, South End Bikeway Connector