Winter 2004, p.6

Cycling News
City Paying For Williamsburg Bridge’s Dangerous Bumps

The Williamsburg Bridge’s bumps have caused cyclists to crash, resulting in broken bones, emergency room visits and lawsuits against the City.

In December 2002, the New York City Department of Transportation opened a popular new bicycling and walking path on the Williamsburg Bridge; 1,500 cyclists cross it each day. But twenty-six two-inch high metal expansion joint covers on the path have made the path hazardous for cyclists. Over the past year, bicyclists and pedestrians have stumbled and tripped over these bumps, damaged their bicycles and, for an unfortunate few, crashed and been severely injured. These bumps are clearly dangerous, and the City DOT needs to replace them with more gently sloping expansion joint covers.

Over the past year, despite written requests to remove the bumps from T.A., the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (which noted that the bumps violate the Americans with Disabilities Act), the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, El Puente, Community Board 3 (Manhattan), Community Board 1 (Brooklyn) and State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, the only action that the agency has taken has been to paint the bumps yellow.

Bridge users are suffering because of the City DOT’s negligence. In June 2002, a cyclist crossing the main span of the Williamsburg Bridge’s south side path crashed on an expansion joint cover, fractured and dislocated her clavicle and broke three ribs. The agency used this same expansion joint design on the new sections of the bridge path it opened in December 2002. On two separate days in October 2003, two cyclists crashed on the new bridge path’s bumps. One fractured her jaw and suffered facial injuries requiring surgery. The other fractured his pelvis. All of these crash victims were regular bridge users, and all of them are suing the City.

The Williamsburg Bridge will be under rehabilitation until 2006, so the City DOT has ample time to instruct the construction contractor to change the joints to a smoother design.

Take Action!

Ask the DOT to remove the bumps!
Commissioner Iris Weinshall
NYC Department of Transportation
40 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
If you have suffered injury or crashed because of one of these bumps, please contact T.A. at info@transalt.org or 212-629-8080

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