The Putnam Examiner

County Legislators Discuss Better Cyclists Safety

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Bicycling along roads in Putnam County can lead to scenic views and wide stretches of little vehicular traffic, but when there are cars speeding by it can also lead to danger.

Putnam County legislators discussed a plan to raise awareness for biking safety through signage and other public education campaigns to protect bicyclist riding along the many roadways in Putnam where they need to share the road with vehicles that whiz by.

Kent resident David Tookmanian explained why cycling safety was an issue the legislature should explore during a Protective Services meeting last week. He said more riders from Westchester County and New York City are traveling up to Putnam for cycling because of the bucolic setting and safety most of the roads offer compared to a more urban zone.

Tookmanian said he would like to see more signage in order to make the county more biker friendly. Patterson resident Tim Curtis said the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office recommended designating a few routes for cycling so visitors know where to go. The sheriff’s office also said it would place more patrolmen on those routes.

Curtis said the signage would hopefully remind drivers to be careful as they drive alongside cyclists.

“We have drivers that think they own the road and they don’t,” Tookmanian said. “We have every right to be out there.”

He noted the call for better bicycling safety comes in part because a local resident was hit by a car from behind while biking, resulting in devastating injuries. Along a straight road on Route 301 with clear visibility, he was struck and now has a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures.

“It’s hit us all very close,” Tookmanian said. “We ride a very fine line out there.”

Legislator Toni Addonizio said on top of the signs, it’s important to create a public awareness campaign through the county health department. Legislature Chairwomen Ginny Nacerino agreed and said the requests were common sense.

Legislator Dini LoBue said a public service campaign is the best approach because signage can only work so well. She also mentioned some residents ask why the cyclists can’t ride on the bike trail that stretches across the county.

Tookmanian said because many pedestrians walk the bike trail, it’s not feasible for cyclists to descend on the path. Some cyclists go too fast to travel on the bike path, Curtis added.

“It’s impossible,” Tookmanian said.

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