BICYCLE LANES

On July 31, 2015, we published a blog on Cyclists and Cars and the difficulty in following the rules of the road. New York State Vehicle & Traffic Laws apply to both cars and cyclists. AAA has acknowledged that there is a significant knowledge gap among vehicle drivers who don’t realize the cyclists have the same right to the road as a motorist. One of the complaints held most by motorists is that cyclists should ride single file. Cyclists are legally allowed to ride side by side if sufficient space is available.

Everyone agrees both cyclists and motorists that most of the accidents can be prevented if there are bike lanes. Recently articles have been published in The Journal News on Monday, September 21, 2015 by Roger Brum concerning large numbers of cyclists in the Village of Piermont Police Chief states 5,000 cyclists pedal through Piermont on a sunny Sunday. The riverside Village sits along Rockland Counties’ most popular bike route. The number of cyclists is expected to grow once a shared path opens on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. About 17,000 visitors a day fill Piermont’s narrow streets on weekends.

Tension between visitors and residents has been growing and a recent confrontation between a driver and a group of cyclists caused a social medical backlash. A dialogue has now been started by Police Chief Michael O’Shea who invited members of local bicycle clubs to a meeting to dispel the notion that the police force was anti-cyclists. If riders think the Piermont’s police Department got it out for them, the Chief told members of the Rockland Bicycle Club, North Jersey Bicycle Touring Club sand Bike Nyack that drivers get a lot more of the police attention. He told the groups that on Sunday his police officers handed out a dozen ticket to cyclists while given out ten times more tickets to drivers. The biggest complaint is that cyclist ride two and three abreast. The Chief stated “single file is safer, no matter how many riders are in the group”. One reason the downtown attracts so many cyclists is that Route 9W is treacherous. The Police Chief is asking New York State Department of Transportation to study that piece of roadway on 9W which lacks a shoulder.

In Piermont, bike lanes are out because the streets are too narrow. The Police Chief said he would like cycle clubs to ask their member to follow safe riding protocols such as complying with all vehicle and traffic laws, yielding to pedestrians and riding at reasonable speeds though the business district.

In the same newspaper on the same day, September 21, 2015, there is an article by Khurram Saeed entitled “Orangetown plans path for cyclists, pedestrians”. A Blauvelt resident wanted to climb the hills at Clausland Mountain on her bike. She takes Greenbush Road. The problems is that Greenbush Road is split into two roads, about 400 feet apart that requires the cyclists to make a right turn onto Route 303, a busy state highway. Orangetown officials have decided the best solution is to put a little distance between the cyclists and the cars. The town is planning to build a quarter mile bypass through Blauvelt State Park that would connect both sides of Greenbush Road for exclusive use by cyclists and pedestrians. The road would run parallel to Route 303 through the woods. State Senator, David Carlucci has secured a $100,000 state grant to pay for the bypass. Orangetown Town Supervisor, Andy Stewart said the bypass would make the well-traveled cycling route used by locals and New York City residents who come up through Piermont on weekends safer for all traffic. In order to build the 10 foot wide bypass, some trees would be cut down and minor drainage work done. New York State would cover the full cost of construction design and drainage work.

Of all the solutions to motorist and cyclists that can be used (enforcement tickets to both motorist and cyclists), bike lanes and paths are the best. A shared bike walking path on the new 4 billion bridge is scheduled to open in 2018 and will end in South Nyack.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle vs. car accident, contact Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or e-mail us at djrobolaw@oal.com