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Route 9W Sees More Cyclists, Accidents

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ALPINE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Route 9W has been attracting more bicyclists lately, and while cycling is great for your body and the environment, it isn’t without risk.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

The road now draws as many bicycles as cars on weekends, but Alpine Police Captain Michael LaViola said accidents are also occurring with some frequency.

“Generally, every weekend we’re good for one or two,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond. “Whether they crash into each other or some debris in the roadway may cause them to fall or sometimes accidents with vehicles.”

“[The driver] says she didn’t see me because of the glare. So, she just totally kind of ran me over,” cyclist Juan Audi-Sena of Dumont said about an accident in which he was involved.

He escaped with some cuts and bruises.

“We’re almost at the mercy of the motorists is the reality and what they don’t get, and I’ll say ‘they’ as in motorists that do not cycle, is that we purposely take part of the road,” he said.

For cyclist Jonathan Soffer of Englewood, it comes down to one thing.

“There is a need for co-existence,” he said. “Cars have to realize that we’re only separated from 18-wheel trucks by a thin white line and we only have a few feet of shoulder.”

“If you go somewhere else like Cape Cod and you see the rail trails and what can be done, you say ‘Oh my God. We have ten times more cyclists here,” he added.

A bike lane is being considered for a particularly narrow stretch of 9W in Englewood Cliffs.

The state Department of Transportation does, however, have a short term remedy. They’re re-striping sections of 9W to make the edge of the travel lanes clearer and installing more signs, hoping motorists and cyclists get the message that they need to share the road.

Route 9W starts in Fort Lee and goes up well into New York State.

Do you have any ideas for keeping thing safe? Share them in the comments section below.