BROOME COUNTY TRAFFIC SAFETY BOARD NEWSLETTER Broome County Health Department 225 Front St. / Binghamton, NY 13905 Christine Muss, Traffic Safety Coordinator Telephone: 607-778-2807 / Fax: 607-778-3998 / Email: CMuss@co.broome.ny.us Celebrate Bike Month - May 2008 April/May 2008 Getting Started with Bike Commuting - A word from Toby Wollin, member of the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee I loved the idea of bike commuting but did not get into it until last year. Riding in traffic just scared me too much. Frankly, until the Greenway Project was completed between Cherie Lindsey Park and downtown Binghamton, I found riding between my house and downtown to be one long case of agitation. It did teach me a few things that I think will help people who want to bike commute but who find the idea overwhelming: The shortest distance between where you live and where you work is almost guaranteed to be a route that will be heavily traveled by cars, buses and trucks. The route You want is NOT the one that is occupied by heavy traffic. The way to find that route can be found by looking to either side of the busiest route. Drive that route on a weekday, at the time when you would ordinarily be riding your bike on that route. It’s amazing what a difference 20 minutes or a half an hour can make in terms of the amount of traffic on a route. This goes double for areas where there are school buildings. You will be dealing with parents and school buses, unless you gauge your timing carefully. If your route takes you through industrial or commercial areas, you may find that you are dealing with employee commuters and delivery trucks; again, try the route 15 minutes earlier and you may find that you are facing a lot less traffic. Continued on next page Fitting Your Helmet Eyes: Helmet should sit level on the head & rest low on the forehead, 1 to 2 finger widths above the eyebrow. You should be able to see the very edge of your helmet looking up pass your eyebrow. A helmet pushed up too high will not protect the face or head well in a fall or crash. Ears: The straps are even and form a “Y” under the earlobe (where the earlobe meets the head) & are snug against the head. Mouth: The buckled chin strap is loose enough so that you can breathe. There should be enough room so you can insert a finger between the buckle and chin, but tight enough that if you open you mouth, you can feel the helmet pull down. Remember wearing a helmet can prevent about 85% of head injuries from bike crashes- but only if it fits correctly! Make sure you follow the 3 easy check points when fitting a helmet and make sure you wear it every time you ride! According to NYS Law, anyone between the ages of 1-14 must wear an approved helmet. Get pumped! A word about bikes… Bike tires need to have proper air pressure. Tires with low pressure can make a bike hard to peddle. Low pressure in your tires can also cause the metal part of your wheel to bottom out against pavement if you ride over a pothole or a sharp bump. This can puncture the tube, or it might dent the metal rim of the wheel making the brakes grab. Be aware that it’s difficult to fix dents in rims. So in order to maintain proper pressure, check your tires often. Find the proper number on the side of the tire and pump it up. Proper pressure ranges from 90 PSI for “skinny” tires down to 45 PSI for “fat” tires. It is best to use a bicycle pump with a gauge on it. If you don’t have access to one, you can always go to a bike shop where they can properly pump up your tires. It is not recommended to inflate your tires at a gas station. Gas station air can sometimes deliver the air too quickly to your tires. Not to mention that most gas stations require you to purchase the air and this can become costly for the avid cyclist. Happy riding! -Submitted by Steven Bard Cyclist and member of the BMTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee The Binghamton Historic Bridge Pedal July 14, 2008 will mark the 3rd annual Binghamton Historic Bridge Pedal. The event will start at the South Washington Street Bridge and continue on for a 6 mile slow but stimulating bicycle ride all around downtown Binghamton passing historic and picturesque sites. Many local celebrities will be joining us this year. The Historic Society will again guide and enlighten us though the tour route. Pre-registration is again required for all riders during the month of June. You may register at participating area bike shops. Registration cost for participants is $2 per rider. Tell your friends! Bring your family! More details to come! -Submitted by Steven Bard Cyclists and member of the BMTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Continued from front page Accept the fact that there are people driving vehicles who believe that you do not belong in the road. There are also people who are just not comfortable driving in a mixed environment. Stay well to the right and follow all the same traffic laws that vehicles do. If you don’t know how to do hand signals for turns, find out and use them. Again, find a route with good shoulders that you can use so that you don’t conflict with vehicles. Most importantly remember to wear a helmet! Give yourself plenty of time. It’s amazing to me just how much sweat I can work up riding to work- even during the colder months. Once I get to work, it takes me about 15 minutes to wash up, change my clothes and fix my hair. Be prepared in terms of clothing. I wear a small backpack so that I’m bringing my clothing back and forth; other people who have more facilities open to them may want to use one day a week to change their clothing at work. I always have or wear a light weight waterproof jacket with zippers for ventilation and a pair of rain pants. The weather here can change pretty quickly. One thing to remember is to make sure that the things you wear increase your visibility to drivers. Reflective strips, woven-in reflective surfaces, bright colors all help. Lighting and reflectors on the bike help a lot also. Believe that you can do it. I thought for years that I just did not have the endurance to ride to work. Once I got cyclometer and rode the entire route of Otsiningo Park, I realized that I probably could ride all the way from the north end of the park down to State Street. I’m able to do that at a comfortable pace in 35 minutes. If you don’t feel that you are up to the task, use Otsiningo as your training ground; the route is measured so you can gauge how well you are doing. You don’t need a fancy bike to commute. As a matter of fact, I’ve found that my hybrid with mountain bike tires has worked in everything except for ice. I changed out my tires to narrow road tires because I am training for a ride in Maryland in April and frankly found that I felt less confident on them than I did with the mountain bike tires. I’ve seen people commute on everything from old cruiser bikes to touring bikes. As long as your bike and all its components work and are kept in good maintenance, you can commute! If you have access to a class on cycling in traffic, take it. I’m looking for one to help me with confidence, which I feel is a major component in commuting successfully. And lastly, again, wear a helmet every time you ride and wear it correctly. April 2 - May 2, 2008 Motorcycle Awareness Share the Road!!! Motorcyclists are apart of our driving community. Each year the number of registered motorcycles increases. In 2005, there were 4553 motorcycles registered in Broome County. In 2006, that number increased to 4988. And it will keep increasing. Motorcycling is becoming more and more popular as a pastime not to mention a cheaper form of transportation as gas prices keep rising. So it is important to remind all drivers to share the roadways. About 5% of all highway fatalities involve a motorcycle. These cyclists are more likely to be killed in a crash because they lack all the protection a driver in a vehicle has. So in order to keep everyone safe on the road, make scanning for motorcyclists a habit. Be sure to keep motorcycles visible and pay attention to their distance from your vehicle. Avoid crowding when passing a motorcycle and be sure to pass them completely before returning to the right lane. Teen Safe Driving It is my pleasure to announce that I have started a foundation in memory of my daughter called Megan’s Foundation. The funding in Megan’s Foundation will be used to help educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. School districts in Broome County will have an opportunity to request funding to support these efforts within their school. Money to maintain this foundation will be raised by my annual golf tournament in Megan’s name. This year’s tournament is August 9, 2008 at Beldon Hill Golf Course in Harpursville. Please feel free to put together a team! It is a day of great fun with a great cause. Non-golfers can still participate and have a good time. We will also be having dinner and a fantastic basket raffle after the tournament. If your agency is interested in donating a basket we would graciously accept. The more baskets we have to raffle, the more money we will raise! Thank you. Joel Dunham -Teen Safety Driving Committee Broome County Traffic Safety Events and Activities April 1, 2008 – Bike Rodeo Committee Meeting 12:00 p.m. – 1 p.m. Broome County Health Department April 2, 2008 – Operation Safe Stop Enforcement Day April 5, 2008 – BCC Children’s Fair 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Broome Community College April 9, 2008 - “Rules of the Road” - Techniques for Teaching Your Teen to Drive 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Chenango Valley Auditorium This free evening class is open to all parents who are interested in learning about safe driving behaviors, the graduated licensing laws, insurance information and specific methods for teaching their child how to drive. April 14, 2008 – Bike Safety Day at the Discovery Center 11 a.m. April 14, 2008 - BMTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting 1:30 p.m. Broome County Office Building (5th floor, Planning Dept.) April 17, 2008 - Child Safety Seat Fitting Station 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Broome County Sheriff’s Department (garage area) Please call (607) 778-2807 to schedule an appointment for a free car seat or to have your car seat inspected by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. April 25, 2008 - The Danielle Stento How to Save a Life Contest Entries due! April 26, 2008 - Bike Rodeo 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. Open to Horace Mann Elementary School students Horace Mann School (in parking lot) April 29-May 2, 2008 - Child Passenger Safety Technician Certification Course Tuesday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Broome County Sheriff’s Department $60.00 Registration fee (Includes class materials and meals) Please contact Christine Muss at (607) 778-2807 for registration information. May 2, 2008 - Child Safety Seat Event 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Endicott Police Station Have your child safety seat inspected for free by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. No appointment necessary. May 3, 2008 - Cover the Uninsured Health Expo 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Broome County Library May 10, 2008 - Child Safety Seat Event (in conjunction with Police Week) 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Oakdale Mall (in parking lot, near main entrance) Have your child safety seat inspected for free by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. No appointment necessary. May 13, 2008 - Recognition Ceremony for The Danielle Stento How to Save a Life Contest Winners 6 p.m. Center Court, Oakdale Mall May 17, 2008 - Johnson City Bike Rodeo 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Johnson City Senior Center parking lot May 24, 2008 - Child Safety Seat Check Event 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. GHS Federal Credit Union, Front Street, Binghamton Have your child safety seat inspected for free by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Barbara J. Fiala, Broome County Executive Graphics and research provided by the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee www.safeny.com, and NHTSA www.nhtsa.gov. The production of this newsletter was made possible through funding from the NYSGTSC.