October/November 1999, p.7

In Outrageous Move, DOT Junks Safe Plate Rule for Construction Sites

Haphazard steel plates create instant bike crash potential.Back in June 1998, with neither notification nor publicity, the City Department of Transportation eliminated its own rule requiring that steel plates covering street excavations be both skid resistant and flush with the surrounding street surface.

At any given time, hundreds if not thousands of plates cover gaping holes on the avenues and streets most used by cyclists. T.A. learned of DOT's decision after complaining about dangerous plates on 7th Avenue between 39th and 40th Streets. As any city cyclist knows, steel plates pose a danger all of the time, especially in rainy weather. Wet plates, like black ice, cause instant bike crashes.

The DOT's softening of "Section 2-11 (e)(10)" of Highway Rules and Regulations is irresponsible and places the bicycling public at grave risk of injury or death. The new rule, adopted without any safety or cost benefit analysis, puts the convenience of the contractors before the safety of bicyclists. It is likely that in the year ahead a bicyclist will be killed or seriously injured as a result of this foolish decision.

Write and ask the mayor to order DOT to put safety before the profit and convenience of street contractors, and mandate safer plates.

Mayor Giuliani
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Read the latest news on this subject.