Broome County Health Department 225 Front St. / Binghamton, NY 13905
Christine Muss, Traffic Safety Coordinator
Telephone: 607-778-2807 / Fax: 607-778-3998 / Email:
Celebrate Bike Month - May 2008
April/May 2008
Getting Started with Bike
- 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
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.
The straps are even and form a “Y” under the
earlobe (where the earlobe meets the head) &
are snug against the head.
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
ƒ 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
ƒ 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.
ƒ 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.
ƒ 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.
ƒ 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!
ƒ 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
ƒ 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.
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
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, and
NHTSA The production of this newsletter was
made possible through funding from the NYSGTSC.