New Paltz holds Bike Awareness Day this Sunday

The newly paved shoulder on Rt. 299, from the bridge to Butterville Rd.

The newly paved shoulder on Rt. 299, from the bridge to Butterville Rd.

This Sunday will be Bike Awareness Day at Water Street Market in downtown New Paltz. The October 23 consciousness-raiser was organized in response to the injuries to Gabriela O’Shea, hit from behind by a motorist while bicycling along Route 299 on September 11. It will serve in part as a fundraiser for her care. Most of the events will be free of charge.

The day’s theme will be “Expect a Bike.” Safety information will be available from employees of local bicycle shops. Village mayor Tim Rogers, well-known for using his bicycle to get nearly everywhere locally, will speak. Some business owners at Water Street Market, including Theresa Fall, who runs Parish and Jar’d, will be offering specials and donating proceeds to O’Shea’s care.

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The proceeds from a variety of group classes at Mosaic Movement, held hourly from 8 to 11 a.m., will also be donated to O’Shea; those interested should make reservations by calling 255-6563. Chair massages will also be offered under the auspices of Mosaic Bodyworks. Members of the Vanaver Caravan dance company will be performing at 12:30.

Participants will be invited to join a letter-writing campaign seeking safer roads for cyclists. Four-foot-wide shoulders along Route 299 from the Carmine Liberta Bridge to Butterville Road were installed soon after O’Shea’s accident. Some organizers believe that only the public response led to progress on this long-promised improvement. Additionally, they believe that the shoulders should be six feet across and include a buffer for safety’s sake.

County officials have promised to extend the widened shoulders to 44/55, a process which will involve the time-consuming task of securing rights-of-way or land from property owners. A letter-writing campaign is intended to continue pressure on officials to complete that task.

If parking at the market is a problem, either come by bike or walk from the free municipal parking near the village hall.

There is one comment

  1. Pauline Kareny

    Can we make crosswalk awareness part of this public communication event? There is a disturbing trend where folks on their phones walk straight into the crosswalks as cars approach, they don’t look up, and anyone driving literally has to jam the breaks in order to avert accident, injury or harm. The law and the rule of crosswalks is that a pedestrian has to stop before crossing, look both ways at oncoming traffic, and then begin to cross – this gives drivers a further distance a chance to see the person in the crosswalk and have time to safely slow and stop their car. The common practice in New Paltz as I said, is walk straight into the crosswalk, head down looking at phone, and those of us coming through are nearly hit from the rear by other cars because we have to suddenly stop short. As with bike safety, bikers have the same responsibility as drivers, and while what has happened with the hit and run is horrible and I hope and pray for her full recovery, all too often as we traverse the area we come upon bikes two, three, and four people wide blocking entire travel lanes, with cars swerving into oncoming traffic, etc…everyone needs to use common sense, and that goes for the cyclists, too.

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