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Old 07-14-11, 05:53 AM   #1
chasmm
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Newsday Front Page Article 07/15/11 Long Island Bike Fatality Rate highest in Metro

This is the cover story in today's Newsday. This shouldn't be news to those of us who ride these roads every day, but it will alarm the crap out of our significant others...

Long Island Bike Fatality rate highest in Metro Area

I'm not sure but the article may be restricted to subscribers...if so, let me know and I'll post the text...
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Old 07-14-11, 06:02 AM   #2
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Yeah, it's restricted, so appreciate if you could post the text.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:16 AM   #3
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TEXT OF ARTICLE

Bicyclists pedal roadways at their peril on Long Island, where at least 64 cyclists have been killed in crashes since 2005.

The bicycle crash death rate on Long Island far exceeds that of New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to a Newsday analysis of federal crash data. Forty-three cyclists have been killed in Suffolk County and 21 in Nassau since 2005, records from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Nassau and Suffolk police departments and Newsday's archive show.

Suffolk is particularly dangerous for travelers on two wheels: There are 4.6 bicyclists' deaths per million people in the county -- more than double the New York State average.

"You have to be a defensive cyclist on the roads of Long Island," said Tom Flanagan, 41, co-owner of Adventure Cycles and Sports in Farmingdale. "Long Island was definitely made for the automobile. It's a hard fight."

In 2009, one of Flanagan's customers, a 22-year-old Nassau Community College student, was fatally struck in Bethpage by a dump truck.

To be sure, bicycle crashes happen for many reasons. Motorists are at fault in some, and bicyclists in others. Law enforcement officials and cyclists themselves say that both drivers and bicyclists must be more alert, respect traffic laws and share the road.

Victims were overwhelmingly male, and their ages ranged from 3 to 76. Seven were age 12 or younger. While the crashes occurred both during the day and at night, nearly one-third happened between 8 and 11 p.m.

More than a quarter occurred on high-speed, multilane arterial roads, such as Sunrise Highway and Hempstead Turnpike. Smaller roads also proved deadly, with three people killed in two crashes on Granny Road in Farmingville since 2005.

Of the 28 deaths for which race was listed, Hispanics made up 43 percent of the victims, an outsize portion for their segment of the population. Some 54 percent were listed as non-Hispanic white.

Latino immigrants are involved in a disproportionate number of bicycle crashes because of their low incomes and the inability of some to obtain driver's licenses, said the Rev. Allan B. Ramirez of Brookville Reformed Church, longtime activist for Latinos on the Island.

In Suffolk County, workers "often need to get to work either by bicycle or on foot since public transportation is inadequate," circumstances that lead to bicycle crashes, he said in an email.

The fatal crashes were caused by a range of contributing factors, from drunken drivers to cyclists who failed to stop at red lights.

In other cases, drivers told police they didn't see the bike until it was too late -- a typical scenario, said Det. Lt. Matt Sullivan, who investigates fatal bicycle crashes as commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department's Third Squad.

"The bicyclist has to be looking to avoid a crash," Sullivan said. "The number-one thing for bicyclists should be to assume that they cannot be seen."

Bicyclists and transportation advocates say Long Island needs safer routes for cyclists, including more bike lanes and uninterrupted shoulders.

"Wide, paved shoulders are a blessing," said Anthony Barone, 78, former president of the Huntington Bicycle Club.

In November, he was biking on Vanderbilt Parkway in Dix Hills when a driver hit the gas pedal before the light turned green and came right at him, he said.

Barone steered into a ditch and woke up in the hospital with two broken ribs and a mild concussion.

"Without the bike infrastructure, without the pedestrian infrastructure, there's a dangerous environment for all people who are using the roads, including drivers," said Ryan Lynch, senior planner for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The transportation campaign and other advocacy groups are pushing for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign "Complete Streets" legislation that would require the designers of major road reconstruction and construction projects to consider all users of the road, and incorporate elements such as pedestrian islands and bike lanes.

The far higher death rate in Suffolk was surprising to some Long Island cyclists, who said they prefer Suffolk's roads to the heavily trafficked streets in Nassau. Cyclists and transportation advocates suggested the greater numbers could be attributed to higher vehicle speeds on Suffolk's less-congested roads, or to more people bicycling on the county's roadways.

There are more bicycle clubs in Suffolk, and a rough tally of the Island's road miles shows that Suffolk's road network is more extensive, with more than 6,300 miles compared with Nassauís 4,000.


Rules of the road
  • Share the road: Bicyclists have the right to the road on most public highways but are not allowed on expressways.
  • Keep your distance: Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Drivers must pass cyclists at a safe distance; a berth of 3 feet suggested.
  • Go with the flow: Bicyclists must ride with traffic.
  • Wear helmets: Required for bicyclists 14 and younger.
  • Sound off: Bicycles must be equipped with a bell or horn that can be heard at least 100 feet away.
  • Lights on: Bicycles ridden between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise must have a white front headlight and a red or amber taillight.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:37 AM   #4
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Sounds a little like my state. Florida is the death capital of the U.S. WRT cycing. But really I can't tell the difference cycling here than anywhere else I've cycled. I've lived in several states (retired navy) and have toured through many others. The big difference here is that we got a lot of non-cyclists that don't know and frankly don't care of rules of the road on a bike. I see it all the time. No wonder why I'm always hearing on the news of some "cyclist" getting killed.
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Old 07-14-11, 08:46 AM   #5
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"I didn't see him." That puts the onus on the cyclist to not only be visible, but watch his back which makes it harder to ride forward. I wonder if people believe that excuse when a driver kills a car load of people.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:03 PM   #6
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The article confirmed what I had suspected from a few years worth of news reports, that a high percentage of deaths are among Hispanics.

I'm certain I'm not alone in my observation that so many of these cyclists, pretty much always male, use a bike to commute and do so without a lot of thought or useful information as to how to ride safely. Many ride all winter, at night and in every kind of weather, as a result of finding a bike the most efficient (time wise) and possibly cheapest form of transportation.

I often observe riders on the wrong side of the road. Often wearing clothing that makes them difficult to see, pretty much no-one wears a helmet, few have decent lighting systems and in general ride in such a way that makes them extremely vulnerable to getting hit by a vehicle and the statistics confirm this.

Trouble is, how do you reach out to educate these guy's. It's difficult enough when you ride safely, these guys need some serious education as well as support to continue to survive.

As well, Long Island motorists, probably more so then drivers in NYC, need educating as well, that cyclists SHARE the road and that means give us some bloody room !. I was on a Massapequa Park Bike Club ride this morning that went up Old Country Rd. in western Suffolk at around 8:20 AM. This road has a decent shoulder for most of the way, but I lost track of how many vehicles gave us absolutely no room on the few occasions that the shoulder was limited. Seemingly EVERYBODY buzzed us with little clearance (3ft my butt), probably thinking "Hey these guys have the morning off, while I'm going to work, screw them they can get out of my way !".

More on street bike lanes would be a huge help.

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Old 07-14-11, 04:34 PM   #7
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That Newsday article does make a point about the high numbers of Latino immigrants in the statistics. When I first started dating my wife 25+ years ago, she would point out other people on bikes. I (being a young road nazi at that time) made sure to point out the distinction; there are cyclists and then there are bicycle riders. It sounds like a lot of those who figure into the LI stats fall into the bicycle rider category. That certainly doesn't excuse the motorists, but it gives slight hope that my odds as an educated cyclist might be slightly better. But all it takes is one driver texting, and all those odds are for naught...
I posted the above on the 41 where someone referenced the same article.

And yes, even though Old Country Road has some wide shoulders it doesn't stop the buzzing...and all it takes is one of those drivers to be just a little inattentive.

When I got back into cycling over a year ago, I found I had to have a mirror. It may make me look fredly (along with other things), but I'd rather ride without a helmet than without my mirror.
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Old 07-15-11, 01:38 PM   #8
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I feel lucky to have gotten out alive. I used to ride Sunrise Hwy every day as a kid.
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Old 07-16-11, 07:16 AM   #9
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I posted the above on the 41 where someone referenced the same article.

And yes, even though Old Country Road has some wide shoulders it doesn't stop the buzzing...and all it takes is one of those drivers to be just a little inattentive.

When I got back into cycling over a year ago, I found I had to have a mirror. It may make me look fredly (along with other things), but I'd rather ride without a helmet than without my mirror.
Same here. Never trust the countless numbers of people that come from behind me in a 2,000 pound rolling mass of steel. I keep an eye on everyone of them.
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Old 07-18-11, 04:12 PM   #10
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How about printing postcards to handout, pointing to a website with bicycle road safety rules? Which site has the best summary of the rules?
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Old 07-20-11, 07:34 AM   #11
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Sounds a little like my state. Florida is the death capital of the U.S. WRT cycing. But really I can't tell the difference cycling here than anywhere else I've cycled. I've lived in several states (retired navy) and have toured through many others. The big difference here is that we got a lot of non-cyclists that don't know and frankly don't care of rules of the road on a bike. I see it all the time. No wonder why I'm always hearing on the news of some "cyclist" getting killed.
I ride this road virtually everyday and it is a little tricky with fast traffic, no shoulder and motorists in a hurry on a narrow roadway.

http://www.news4jax.com/news/28606320/detail.html
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Old 07-20-11, 07:58 AM   #12
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so it's my responsibility to see everything BEHIND me while the motorist does not bear the responsibility to see things IN FRONT of them? Gee Officer Sullivan. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:32 PM   #13
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so it's my responsibility to see everything BEHIND me while the motorist does not bear the responsibility to see things IN FRONT of them? Gee Officer Sullivan. Thanks.
Given the consequences of what can happen when a 2,000lb rolling mass impacts a 200 lb rolling mass, yes the law of physics says it would be prudent to keep a watchful eye out. In the military we had a term for this, "Keep your head on a swivel".

WRT to man's law, yes need some improvement, but nature's law is set in stone -- whether you like it or not
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Old 07-24-11, 02:47 PM   #14
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I do not understand why there are not more bike lanes in Nassau County. If cash strapped NYC can find the money to create bike lanes in all the boroughs then why can't Nassau? Bike lanes would be a start and help raise awareness to bike safety. I also think that stores that sell bikes should just just raise prices by $10 or $20 and "give" a free helmet with every bike purchase. If people own a helmet MAYBE they will use the helmet. It drives me crazy when I see parents without helmets riding with their little kids who have helmets on. Is it that hard for Mom and dad to set a good example and ride with a helmet?

It would be great if Newsday ran a regular series on bike safety for motorists and bike riders. Safety needs to be kept on the front pages. We need better advocacy for cycling on Long Island.
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Old 07-24-11, 03:50 PM   #15
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I do not understand why there are not more bike lanes in Nassau County.
The Nassau DoT has been dead set against any bike lanes for decades. I was active maybe 15 years ago in bike advocacy and all we ever heard out of Nassau was a loud NO. Even though they could have tapped into the federal ISTEA funding, they wouldn't do so, claiming there were too few roads they controlled that met the criteria for bike lanes. In some respects they were right as part of the nature of the county is there's a lot of local jurisdictions - incorporated villages, assorted towns, etc... with a lot of folks needing to be brought on board and in truth, without a push from above (the county exec.), it wasn't going to happen.

And sad to say, but in NYC you "generally" have a more enlightened population that can accept things like bike lanes and look at what happens in Queens, Park Slope, Staten Island and Williamsburg where they ***** and moan. In Nassau the locals would be screaming bloody murder at losing a precious lane set aside for the almighty automobile to a bicycle.
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Old 07-24-11, 05:29 PM   #16
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Another one, happens all the time... http://www.news4jax.com/news/28650767/detail.html
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Old 07-25-11, 05:40 AM   #17
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If cash strapped NYC can find the money to create bike lanes in all the boroughs then why can't Nassau?
Just an aside: The feds match local bike infrastructure spending 4:1. NYC spent ~2mil on all the bike stuff in recent years, total spending was ~8mil.
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Old 07-25-11, 06:35 AM   #18
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The Nassau DoT has been dead set against any bike lanes for decades. I was active maybe 15 years ago in bike advocacy and all we ever heard out of Nassau was a loud NO.
I can understand the jurisdiction problems that would affect the implication of some kind of master plan however a lot has changed in 15 years. Albany is considering a push to mandate ALL new road projects to consider all users including cyclists and pedestrians. As we speak a "Complete Streets Initiative" bill is sitting on the Governor's desk. Here is the link:
http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?def...mmary=Y&Text=Y

Todays society is much more environmentally and safety aware.

Here is a link to an article listing cycling fatalities by county in New York State:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rk...gerous_th.html
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Old 07-26-11, 10:56 AM   #19
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I can understand the jurisdiction problems that would affect the implication of some kind of master plan however a lot has changed in 15 years. Albany is considering a push to mandate ALL new road projects to consider all users including cyclists and pedestrians. As we speak a "Complete Streets Initiative" bill is sitting on the Governor's desk. Here is the link:
http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?def...mmary=Y&Text=Y

Todays society is much more environmentally and safety aware.

Here is a link to an article listing cycling fatalities by county in New York State:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rk...gerous_th.html
All true, but you asked how come Nassau has no current lanes and the reason is the powers that be have not, traditionally, been particularity friendly towards incorporating bicycles into the county road network. That may change, but I'm not holding my breath.
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