Tag Archives: bike

Courier reporter gears up for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos and video by Cristabelle Tumola


When I told my parents I would be jumping on a motorcycle for the first time in my life, their faces went blank and they gave me the response I’ve heard so often since I asked them years ago for a skateboard: “You’re joking, right?”

Although I was raised among mostly boys and had numerous falls and tumbles, my parents always made sure I knew “extreme hobbies” would be out of the question because safety was their number one priority.

However, when I told them that this particular adventure would be to go over the safe ways to handle a motorcycle, they eased off and gave me their blessings.

With New York State having over 680,000 licensed motorcyclists in 2013, according to the DMV, and 5,153 Queens students coming out of New York’s Motorcycle Safety School, it is always important to be aware of the safety and responsibility that comes with owning a bike.

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month I put on my leather jacket, strapped on boots and took part in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Introductory Motorcycle Experience course offered by the Motorcycle Safety School just west of Lindenwood, Queens, over the Brooklyn line.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF MY MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE, CLICK HERE

Our instructor for the day was martial artist, professional film and TV stuntman and DMV-certified instructor Adam Wood, who said he knew riding a motorcycle was exactly what he wanted to do. Coming from Colorado, he said, he did not want to be at the mercy of New York City’s public transportation.

The session began with an introduction to the different types of motorcycles — cruisers, sport, dual-purpose and touring bikes. With all the choices, the goal is to sit on as many different bikes as possible, find out what you like, how good it looks and feels, and think about where you’ll be riding.

However, before going out and picking your favorite ride, pay attention.

State law requires motorcycle riders to wear two things before hitting the road: Department of Transportation (DOT) certified helmet and eyewear. How do you know your gear is DOT-certified? Just check the sticker.

According to MSF, proper gear also includes a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full-fingered gloves, long pants and over-the-ankle boots (rubber soles, no laces). Wood also showed us motorcycle-specific over-pants with armor built into the shins, hip and knees.

A safety fashion tip — leather is the best material to look for in motorcycle clothing because, according to Wood, at 25 mph, leather lasts up to six seconds when making impact with the floor, while jeans only last 0.75 seconds.

The importance of gear is to allow the rider to have good communication with the motorcycle. Comfort, visibility and protection are the key things to remember when picking proper gear.

“You’re going to want to buy the gear that allows us to interact with our motorcycle the best,” Wood said. “You should do research to arm yourself with information so you don’t put yourself in bad situations.”

Following the classroom lesson of the day, it was time to take the session outside and add some “seat time” under our belts.

Before mounting any bike, remember these are very heavy pieces of machinery, ranging from 200 to 900 pounds. Once you release that kickstand, it’s only you and your strength stopping that bike from hitting the floor.

In addition to the handlebars, a motorcycle has five other primary controls. Three of those controls are hand-operated and mounted on the handlebar. There is the throttle, which allows you to rev up the engine, the front brake and the clutch lever.

While on our Suzuki bikes, we learned the clutch lever is what allows you to change gears. When you come to a stop and you don’t want the bike to shut off, you have to squeeze the clutch and then ease back out.

Using what Wood called the “Friction Zone,” you maintain a smooth ride with your bike and don’t stall or accelerate uncontrollably.

The remaining controls are foot-operated and control the rear brake and shifting of the gears. You don’t need much pressure to switch to different gears; a soft tap up switches from first gear to N and then up to 5.

Unlike in a car, there is no meter telling you what gear you are in, so in order to check if your bike is on first, you have to give the shift lever three taps down and if you stop feeling clicks, that means you are on the lowest gear.

Although I wasn’t able to fully ride the motorcycle, because I do not have a permit, I was able to get a taste of what it takes to control such a machine — gentle taps, concentration and having the proper gear and training.

After looking at photos and watching my videos, I think my parents are more relaxed with the idea of me getting on a Harley Davidson one of these days… Now wait until I get that tattoo.

For more information of the Motorcycle Safety School, visit www.ridemss.com. MSF offers motorcycle courses at Queensborough Community College and for more information or to find a course closest to you, visit www.msf-usa.org or www.nysmsp.org.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NYC bike share program delayed…again


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

A month after the mayor announced a delay in the city’s new bike share program, another postponement will push the roll out back to next spring.

Originally planned for a late July, early August launch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today on his weekly radio show with John Gambling the target date for the Citi Bike program is now March.

“Unfortunately there are software issues,” Bloomberg said. “Until it works we’re not going to put it out.”

Software problems were also responsible for the original delay.

“While we are eager for Citi Bike to begin, it’s more crucial that this ground-breaking transit system be launched correctly, not quickly,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Manufacturing and testing continue on the necessary software to operate the system, the DOT said.

Seven thousand bikes are planned at 420 stations throughout the five boroughs when the program finally commences. Riders will be able to rent bikes short term for a small fee or with a $95 annual membership. In Queens, there will be 10 stations in Long Island City with the other stations scattered throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“While the delay may have been caused by poor planning and software problems, the city should take this opportunity to address the remaining safety issues associated with the plan in order to lower the number of accidents and fatalities that may result from the Bike Share program,”said a spokesperson for Comptroller John Liu.

In June, the comptroller released a report endorsing safety-enhancing efforts to avoid accidents and lawsuits.

Citi’s $41 million sponsorship of the program will not be affected by the delay, the mayor said.

In a recent Quinnipiac poll 74 percent of voters thought the bike share program was a good idea.

Sunnyside cyclist killed in hit-and-run


| brennison@queenscourier.com


A cyclist was killed last night in Sunnyside after being struck by a car that sped off after the crash.

The 37-year-old was biking heading eastbound on Greenpoint Avenue when he was hit from behind by a dark colored sedan heading the same direction, police said. The Daily News reported that sources said the speeding car ran a red light.

The vehicle did not stop and fled the sight.

EMS pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

An investigation is ongoing.

 

Western Queens will soon be more bike friendly


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

QNS BRIDGE PARK GRNWAYw

Residents will soon have a greener, healthier way to beat the traffic around western Queens.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is currently constructing the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway, a 10.6-mile, urban, multi-use trail intended to provide access to the borough’s shoreline and improve commuting options for people beyond motorized vehicles. The bike and pedestrian pathway will connect Long Island City, Hunters Point, Ravenswood and Astoria with Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. It will also unite five parks on the East River shoreline – Astoria, Ralph DeMarco, Hallet’s, Queensbridge and Rainey parks.

“For us, it adds another location for people from anywhere in the borough to hop on a bicycle to this location and recreate in many neighborhood parks,” said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “It makes a nice connection between your neighborhood and public parks. Street greenways and park greenways allow you to ride the city streets in a safe manner, but also to turn off into a public park and ride around the park as well.”

Lewandowski believes the western Queens neighborhoods have recently experienced a resurgence, and the greenway will only further enhance their renaissance.

Work is currently underway at Hallet’s Cove, Ralph DeMarco and Rainey parks, while the path at Queensbridge Park has already been completed. Construction is set to commence at Astoria Park by the middle of summer, and the greenway is expected to be completed late in the fall. When concluded, the project, which costs $3.46 million, will include new pavement, signage, benches and landscaped areas for pedestrians and cyclists to relax.

“It will be a nice, pleasant experience to recreate in the park, sit with your cycle, have a snack and enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline, as well as all the watercrafts going up and down the East River,” Lewandowski said.

The trail will eventually connect to the bike path over the Pulaski Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Queens, and attach to another greenway which leads to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The greenway is part of a multiyear effort to implement an inclusive, citywide network of cycling lanes. The Parks Department is also interested in creating a similar path along the Laurelton Parkway in southeast Queens, but Lewandowski says funding is still required.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents portions of western Queens and is a cycling enthusiast, believes the pathway will make community residents more active and healthy, as well as bring business into the neighborhoods.

“I think this is a great initiative that will get people out of their homes and out onto the streets and into the parks,” Van Bramer said. “It will allow them to explore their own neighborhood and other neighborhoods in ways they hadn’t done so before. Walking and cycling are also both great ways to exercise. People can make a day of it and cycle or walk along the greenway, and there is going to be a time when folks are going to want to stop for lunch or water or a snack. This is what this is about – getting people to see the beautiful shoreline and to experience it in ways they haven’t before.”

The construction of the greenway comes at the same time the city has announced “Citi Bike,” the nation’s largest public bike share system set to launch in July of 2012. Citi has agreed to pay $41 million to be the title sponsor of the program, which will include 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the bike share will be located in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera says the department is examining opportunities to expand the program into Queens.