Remember the last time you walked across the Pulaski Bridge? You likely were almost run over by a cyclist, right? Or were you the cyclist coasting at a rapid pace with no time to break as you approached a halted pedestrian stopped to snap a shot of that breathtaking Manhattan skyline?
Lucky for us, this danger might soon come to an end.
The city is currently in talks to create a separate bike lane for the bridge, providing a more spacious walking route and a safer way for cyclists to cross from Greenpoint to Long Island City. A bike lane would reportedly replace one of the Pulaski’s three southbound car lanes. The current sidewalk is only eight-feet wide for cyclists and pedestrians traveling in both directions.
The only roadblock (pun intended) is the Pulaski’s drawbridge. According to DNAinfo.com, the Department of Transportation will announce a final decision this March. Maybe Greenpointers will have a safe way to head to LIC just in time for ideal spring bike-riding weather.
Spring is here and everyone is dusting off their bicycles and hitting the pavement. Here are some tips on staying safe and making your bike street legal from the dudes at Silk Road Cycles. This is your life we are talking about, so take it seriously!
GP: How do we make a bicycle street legal in NY? Silk Road Cycles: The three things we focus on are:
1. Working brakes (according to the law, a brake that is able to make your rear tire skid on level ground.)
2. Bell or other audible signal
3. Lights and reflective material – from dusk till dawn)
GP: Are there fines associated with not complying? Silk Road Cycles: Yes. You can be ticketed for any of the above issues.
GP: What lights do you recommend? Silk Road Cycles: Both front and rear are a must! Any light that is clearly visible to drivers, but the brighter the better (NYC has a lot of lights everywhere, so stand out). In the shop we have a penchant for USB rechargeable lights. Easier, brighter and they run about $80 for a pair. (They’ll also double as strobe lights for your next party.) Well worth it, if you ask us.
GP: Do you have to wear a helmet legally as an adult? As a child? Silk Road Cycles: After the age of 14 you do not have to wear a helmet legally. But everyone should!
Purchase a helmet that is bicycle specific and approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
You should replace your helmet immediately after a crash and/or after 3 years of use. Over time the foam in the helmet deteriorates. Now and again, look over your helmet – make sure the plastic is still entirely connected to the styrofoam and check for cracks in the foam.
GP: Can you wear a skateboard helmet instead of a bike helmet? Silk Road Cycles: Legally: yes. With confidence in your safety: no. Bicycle helmets are made for single use high impact. Skateboard helmets are made for multiple impacts at much lower speeds.