Saturday, April 16, 2005

Unsafe bumps and DOT responsible? YES!

bumps, originally uploaded by Green Biker.

In addition to the problems we are encountering riding our bikes, as a group there is still the problems cyclists face on the average commute. Take Transportation Alternatives spokesperson Noah Budnick for example. Here is one of the safest riders I can possibly imagine who has been recently hospitalized during an accident on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge. The cause of the crash is uncertain. A pothole, a police tow truck. The details are still under investigation. Here is a safe rider, who is constantly advocating for more bike lanes, more civic improvements for riders. A guy who always wears his helmet who ended up in the hospital. Now, what is the city doing to improve the roadways for bike riders? There have been lots of advancements. The West side Highway is a good example. There is a plan to do the same thing with the East side. A functioning greenway with wide bike lanes for people to commute along side Manhattan's beautiful waterways. Meanwhile we have a big problem on the Williamsburg Bridge that the city seems to be ignoring. That bridge used to be a real mess, with metal slates exposing huge gaping holes, poorly lit with the fear that a mugger would jump out at you and steal your bike and this often occurred. The city met the demands of the increase in popularity to bike riding and fixed up the bridge or needed to repair the bridge and allowed proper bike lanes for cyclists. Either way we got a big improvement, except for one thing. These large expansion joint covers, which are like speed bumps on the Manhattan side pedestrian ramp. Who thought this would be a good idea? Why are they not on the Brooklyn side (thank god) Did they feel that people only needed to slow down if they are entering precious Manhattan? In the construction of the bridge, which goes over theJ,M and Z train the bike path needed to have these expansion joints and somehow they needed to be covered. For cyclists, this is a big pain in the ass, literally. Every time the 3,000 bike riders who use this bridge on the daily have to smack over 26 2 inch bumps. Why couldn't we get the nice bike path improvements without it being a physical challenge each time you commute? So now people are complaining. TA has launched a major campaign to the Department of Transportation to replace the bumps with something lower or less dangerous. TA did a survey and found that 90 percent of 250 people interviewed found the bumps dangerous. There are also several injury lawsuits against the city for people hurt on the bumps, amounting to 10 million dollars. DOT has been told this is a problem, and what do they do? They put up signs on both sides of the bridge warning people about the bumps. These signs went up last week. They also have theses signs that tell people it's not the bumps that are the problem it's the way people ride over them. This is indicated with arrows on the sign instructing people that they need to go straight over the joint covers. Is this what they are going to tell plaintiffs in court with broken collarbones. Judge: "I see you point with that neck brace and all but it looks like your client failed to ride his bike properly over the bump." Once again this is a classic city move to blame the victim for the cities mistakes. Its like if a car swerves over 3 lanes of traffic and kills a cyclist trying to make an illegal left turn and the city rules that the bike rider should have been more careful and worn his/her helmet. Unbelievable. How much money did the city spend on some 40 odd signs to warn people about these bumps, instead of removing them with a cheaper safer alternative? I highly recommend checking the TA website: and finding a way to write to the DOT department of bridges and tunnels and complaining. It is my understanding from an inside DOT source that they are well aware of the problem and the complaints but are stailing on action because of personality ego and claims that it would be too expensive to change the joints. I think it is all the more reason to file a complaint and get this nonsense to change.

This is a good place to start:

Iris Weinshall
40 Worth St, NY, NY 10013


Blogger sucka pants said...

or just mix some concrete and add beveled edges to all the bumps the old way. . . Do It Yourself.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) the bumps are beveled, they're bumps not curbs.

2) they sit over expansion joints. If you were to smooth them out with concrete, the first time the joints moved the concrete would crack. Creating a larger problem then before.

4:25 PM  

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