Summer 2001, p.8

Skid Free

After a typical light, summer shower, you're back riding on the streets that are constantly under construction. Crossing one of the ubiquitous steel construction plates, suddenly a car swerves your way. You brake hard, your tires slide on the slick steel and bang you're down. Why? Because in June 1998, NYC DOT eliminated the regulation that required steel plates covering street excavations to be skid resistant.
Three years of T.A.'s persistent correspondence and phone calls have finally reversed this change. As of June 6, 2001 city rules state "all plating and decking shall have a skid resistant surface equal to or greater than the adjacent existing street or roadway surface." This means better traction and fewer injuries for cyclists riding over the countless steel plates on the city streets. DOT hired 18 new inspectors to help enforce the new rule and do something about the bombed out condition of city streets.

Some contractors applying to DOT for work permits are taking this change seriously. Unfortunately, many are not - it is easy to find many super slick plates littering the streets. You can help banish the bad plates. Phone CALL-DOT (225-5368) and report the location of the plate and the contractor will be issued a violation. Write to DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall and thank her for the skid resistant plate regulation. Urge her to go one step further and require contractors to leave streets cuts unfilled (to a maximum of one-inch deep) for a no more than twenty-four hours.

Write to:
Iris Weinshall
NYC Department of Transportation
40 Worth St.
New York, NY 10013

Read the latest news on this subject.

Check out the steel plate of the future. The gritty surface should make cycling on NYC's continually re-constructed streets less frightening.