Friday, July 31, 2020

RIOC Installs New Roosevelt Island Bike Safety Signage After Speeding Rider Hits Baby Stroller With 6 Month Old Inside - Baby Bruised But OK, Could Have Been A Tragedy Say Mom Who Suggests Safe Rules For Bikers And Residents To Coexist

As reported June 18:

During June 2 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Advisory Committee video conference meeting, I asked:
Residents have been concerned over the increased number of bike riders, mostly appears to be visitors, riding on sidewalks and waterfront promenade creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians, including elderly and kids.

What can RIOC do about creating safe sidewalks and pathways. Signage is not enough. Will PSD officers be stationed outside to monitor safe bike riding.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal answered that RIOC is putting together a team with the Public Safety Department and Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Interim President David Lawson to find a solution for bicycle riding safety issues including signage and striping the Promenades for separate bike and pedestrian sections.

The problem of unsafe bicycle speeding, riding on sidewalks and against traffic on Roosevelt Island continued during the summer without much visible action taken by RIOC to prevent such practices. Until, a Roosevelt Island Mom reported on Twitter earlier this week:

Upon learning of the Blackwell Park

bike collision incident with 6 month old baby in a stroller, Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes reached out to the Mom to discuss Roosevelt Island bike safety situation

and later that day released this bike safety signage plan:
Roosevelt Island Bike Safety Signage

RIOC has heard the community's concerns regarding the influx of cyclists on Roosevelt Island and the failure to adhere to NYC bike safety laws.

On Thursday, July 30th, weather permitting, we will begin installing the below signage around the island:

Yield to Pedestrian signs: 20 signs. Eight located on the East Promenade and 12 located on the West Promenade.

Walk Your Bike signs: Four signs. Two located on the East Promenade, from Blackwell Park to Firefighters Field, and two on the West Promenade, behind the Octagon building.

Bike Sign with Arrow: Two signs. One sign pointing cyclists to enter the road between the Helix and Al Lewis Playground, leading them to bike on the East Promenade. One sign pointing cyclists towards the Meditation Steps to bike on the West Promenade.

Bike sign with Wrong Way and Ride with Traffic: One sign, placed at the end of the Meditation Steps to discourage riders from riding south on East Main Street, past the subway station.

The goal of this signage, if followed correctly by riders, is to divert them before they arrive on Main Street. RIOC will also be looking into additional signage, as needed, to be placed in other areas of concern.

Please look at the map locations below for further detail.

Bike Signage Locations

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse responded to the plan:

RIRA Planning Committee Chair Mickey Rindler objects to the RIOC bike signage plan. Mr Rindler shares this message he sent to RIOC Acting President Shelton Haynes:
I was very dismayed after reading the details of this plan to put up YIELD and Dismount signs without proper consultation with bicycle riders who actually ride around the Island, like I have done hundreds of times. This idiotic plan should be postponed until such time as RIOC has properly vetted it

As the Planning Committee chair of RIRA, I have met with RIOC and discussed bicycle and pedestrian safety on several occasions. My predecessors and I asked for BIKE LANES not Yield signs. Alternatively WE ASKED FOR SIGNS THAT SAID BIKES SHARE THE ROAD, preferably painted on the promenades and walkways. In fact, Susan Rosenthal promised me our committee would be consulted before any actions were taken.
  1. I have never seen Yield signs like this anywhere in New York city except for crosswalks where pedestrians cross the road! Who advised you to put them up? They understand nothing.
  2. What does “Yield” mean? BICYCLISTS ALWAYS YIELD FOR PEDESTRIANS NOW! Otherwise you would have accidents every day. Does this mean that groups of pedestrians and dog walkers with long leashes are entitled to block the road and bicycles have to dismount to accommodate them? PURE NONSENSE. Inconsiderate pedestrians is what happens every day and bicyclists are constantly alerting them by using bells or yelling when coming up from behind that they are passing them. These signs will make pedestrians feel empowered and further endanger them when bicycles continue to do what they do now.
  3. Many BICYCLISTS WON’T DISMOUNT AND WALK THEIR BIKES! If you want them to do that you would have to put up barriers, like they did on the West Side bike/walkway (but I think no longer do). Otherwise it will create a more dangerous situation where pedestrians expect them to. Bicyclists are more likely to obey SLOW zones with proceed with caution signs. That is what should be done.
  4. As a person who also has walked around the Island hundreds of times, I can tell you that I have never been hit by a bicycle but my closest scrapes were with kids, who by the way also ride on sidewalks frequently as well. Your signs will do nothing to change any of that.
The one good thing that will come out of this is that pedestrians may be more aware and will expect to see bicycles. BUT IT IS CLEARLY A MISTAKE NOT TO PUT UP SHARE THE PATH TYPE SIGNS and you should shelve the current ideas. It would be far better for signs that accurately reflect what is going on now and better promote safety for everyone.

I would be happy to discuss further, but this is another egregious example of RIOC’s imperious ways.
In addition to bike safety signage, RIOC plans to have Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department monitor and enforce safe bicycle riding practices.
During June 4 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting, bike safety was discussed by RIOC President Susan Rosenthal, RIOC Board Director David Kraut and Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown. RIOC Director David Kraut suggested a broader discussion within the Roosevelt Island community about bike policy may be needed.

PSD Chief Kevin Brown noted an increase in bike riders during the last few months of the Pandemic. Chief Brown has instructed PSD officers to be more visible on the street and to advise bike riders of the rules and regulations for safe and slow bike riding. Chief Brown added there will be greater enforcement of bike rules and regulations. Also, Chief Brown said that signage will be placed in certain areas that will instruct bike riders to dismount and walk with their bicycles.

At times, the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department has stopped bicyclists to inform them of safe riding practices

but not on a consistent basis as can be seen with this bike rider on sidewalk riding past PSD Officers at the Saturday Farmers Market.

Stay tuned for more to come. In the meantime, take a virtueal 3 minute bike ride

around Roosevelt Island.

UPDATE 7:50 PM - From the Roosevelt Island Twitervers: