05/17/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2023 08:57
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez today announced the importance of bicycle safety during National Bicycle Safety Month and reminded everyone that roadway safety is a shared responsibility. The Hudson Valley, including Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, and Westchester counties, has a robust network of state trails and bicycle facilities for users to enjoy. As part of its statewide active transportation network, the Department of Transportation has helped design and build thousands of miles of iconic bicycle paths and infrastructure across the state.
"May is National Bicycle Safety Month and New York State is home to some of the most scenic trails in the country," Commissioner Dominguez said. "This is the perfect time of year to get outside, take a bike ride and enjoy the great outdoors in New York. To ensure safety, cyclists should always stay alert, wear a helmet, make sure to wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights, and follow the rules of the road. And for motorists, look out for bikes, never drive distracted, and please share the road."
There were 938 bicyclist fatalities in 2020, which accounted for 2.4% of all traffic fatalities during the year. NHTSA early estimates show a 5% increase in bicyclist fatalities in 2021.
Bicyclists should be sure to always wear a helmet and protective/reflective clothing, adjust their bicycle to fit properly, watch for and avoid hazards, use verbal and non-verbal (hand signals) communication, avoid riding at night, if possible, plan their route, abide by traffic laws and go with the flow of traffic, and stay alert at all times. For motorists, drive attentively, slow down and yield to bicyclists. Be sure to give bicyclists room. Don't pass too closely. Pass them as you would any other vehicle when it is safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
The Hudson Valley's trails consist of a multitude of safety treatments including bi-directional multi-use paths, two-way cycle tracks separated by parking or green buffers, one-way bicycle lanes, shoulder lanes, and shared vehicular lanes. Additional safety features include Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) used at higher speed trail crossings like State Route 32 in the town of Ulster, and speed tables, located along River Road in Red Hook, which slows vehicular traffic within shared lanes.
Popular trails and trail projects in the region include:
Empire State Trail
A 750-mile multi-use pathway from New York City to Buffalo and Canada, the Trail enters the Hudson Valley in lower Westchester County and proceeds north toward Putnam and Dutchess counties. Between Poughkeepsie and Highland in Ulster County, users of the trail can experience the awe-inspiring views along the Walkway Over the Hudson. After passing through historic New Paltz and Kingston, the trail crosses back over the Hudson River via the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge near the Olana State Historic Site. Before exiting the Hudson Valley region, the Empire State Trail marks the beginning of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail in the Town of Greenport.
Recent trail projects in the Hudson Valley:
A 2.5 mile section of State Bicycle Route 9, also known as the Hudson Valley Greenway Jones Point Path/Dunderberg Mountain Trailway, between U.S. Route 9W and River Road in Stony Point, Rockland County, was recently reconstructed along the western side of the Hudson River.
In 2022, construction was completed along a segment of the Orange County Heritage Trail between the City of Middletown and the Town of Goshen, Orange County, paving 4.25 miles of trail, rehabilitating four bridges, and constructing a culvert.
Additionally, construction is in progress along a .8 mile section of the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad in the City of Kingston, Ulster County, to pave a shared-use path, as well as make drainage improvements, remove railroad tracks and ties, and establish trailheads.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Biking is an amazing recreational activity and something that should be enjoyed safely. Whether exploring a state park or the thousands of miles of scenic trails that New York State provides, it's important to always stay alert and wear a helmet."
Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver license.
For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org or download the free 511NY mobile app.