It’s hard to keep track of all of the existing, upcoming and proposed bike lanes, bike routes and rail trails that go from Kingston, to New Paltz, Highland, Poughkeepsie and beyond in the Hudson Valley. Rail trails, of course, are the gold standard for a bicyclist; you don’t have to share the road with cars. But sometimes, it can be useful and economical to go from Point A to Point B in a city using your bike and your wits. Here are some tips for both bicyclists and drivers on how to share the road without causing a serious accident.
If you’re a bicyclist…
Use a bike map
Poughkeepsie, Highland and New Paltz all have some combination of designated bike routes, complete streets connections, rail trails and other bike-friendly routes. There are also a number of projects that are either proposed or already under construction. It can be hard to keep track of all of them, so we put together this handy map of bicycle routes, mashed up with lots of places that bicyclists like to stop at.
NOTE: If you’re going to stop at a brewery on a bike ride, please drink responsibly!
POUGHKEEPSIE BICYCLE MAP
In 2005, Poughkeepsie’s Common Council created nine bicycle routes for the city, which you can see in the map above. Although they don’t have bicycle lanes per se, over the last decade and a half, they have considered bicycle safety in the “design, construction, reconstruction, repair and maintenance of those streets.”
In 2009, along with the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson, Scenic Hudson helped created a “Walkway Loop” which connects the Walkway with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Highland Historic Trail and Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which has almost reached New Paltz.
In 2016, the Chazen Companies and the City of Poughkeepsie completed a feasibility study to build a Kaal Rock Connector trail as part of a Poughkeepsie Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy, connecting Main Street to more of Poughkeepsie’s waterfront. In October of 2018, the City and Scenic Hudson issued a community survey to seek input on three proposed solutions.
NEW PALTZ & HIGHLAND BICYCLE MAP
In 2009, the Walkway Over the Hudson Loop Trail was completed and opened, which also connects to the Highland Historic Trail that loops back onto the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. It also connects to the Oakes Road Trail, which leads people to Franny Reese State Park.
Starting in 2012, Ulster County began work on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which is working its way westward. Currently, it terminates near the landmark of Lowe’s on Route 299; eventually, it will connect to the Village of New Paltz, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (which extends from Kingston to Walden) and the River to Ridge Trail.
In 2018, a six-mile “River to Ridge” trail was opened by the Open Space Institute; it is expected that next summer, the trail will connect the Wallkill and Hudson Valley Rail Trails to the Mohonk Preserve’s carriage path network.
Know the rules… and your rights
We recently wrote about some of our tips for safe bicycle riding in Kingston and Poughkeepsie, which include:
- Wearing a helmet
- Ride with traffic whenever possible
- Ride carefully in new or unknown areas
- Obey traffic signs and lights
- Ride on the road
- Use hand signals when turning
If you do get into an accident and have suffered a significant injury, call the police or 911 immediately. Bicycle accidents can cause injuries like fractured and broken bones, road rash, facial and head injuries, and more, resulting in missed time from work, extensive medical bills and other long-term trauma. If you need legal representation after a bicycle accident, call us at 845-600-0000 and request a free consultation. We’ve helped bicyclists recover the maximum amount possible in many personal injury cases.
If you’re a motorist
If you drive a car, truck or motorcycle in the Hudson Valley in 2018 or beyond, you’re going to see more and more bicyclists. Due to health benefits, affordability and increased infrastructure, bicycling is only going to increase a mode of transportation in the future.
Most information about bicycle accidents are understandably primarily concerned with the safety of bicyclists. However, unexpectedly seeing a bicyclist, or being unsure of how to properly share the road around a bicycle can pose danger to drivers. Here are some tips:
A recent Facebook post went viral in New Paltz with a driver ranting about bicycles taking up space on Route 299 in New Paltz, going so far as to threaten violence against the riders. Most people won’t go that far, but being patient with riders on the road is essential to being a safe driver. For example, if you’re stuck behind a bicyclist, you’re not supposed to pass them unless you can give them at least three feet of clearance to the side. That might mean waiting a few extra minutes to find the right time to pass, but when you do pass them, it’ll be safe for them and for you; after all, you don’t want to be passing a bicyclist and then have to react to something else like an oncoming speeding car.
Open your driver’s side door with your right hand
If you’re in a village or city with bicyclists, try opening your driver’s side door with your right hand. Doing so forces you to check behind your car, lowering the chance that you’ll “door” an oncoming bicycle.
Be careful at right turns
If you’re making a right turn, ask yourself; do you know for sure that a bicyclist isn’t riding up in your blind spot? If you don’t know for sure, double-check.
Mainetti & Mainetti P.C. is a personal injury law firm with offices in Kingston, NY and Poughkeepsie, NY. If you believe you were injured as a result of another party’s negligence, please call us at 845-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team.