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The Wild West (Utica Streets)

August 29th marked our one year anniversary in our new office on Court Street.
I simply cannot wait when Court Street reopens once again reconnecting west and east Utica via a major thoroughfare.
Every day I pull into the Boilermaker parking lot I am struck that, unlike our former location, we are in a neighborhood. Usually at noon I try and get in a walk around our streets, I have at least a nodding acquaintance with many of our neighbors.
Today is the first day of school- wow, the silence is deafening in our usually lively area.
Some observations:
We have so many kids in the neighborhood that are riding bikes- a very good thing: it’s a great exercise.
Unfortunately I have yet to see one of them waring a bike helmet- a very, very bad thing as we see heavy vehicular traffic only to get worse with the Court Street opening sometime in the Fall.
New York State mandates the wearing of helmets for all riders 14 years and younger.
So I think to myself ‘are people not wearing helmets because they are too expensive or not wearing them because it isn’t cool (I suspect it’s the cool factor)’?
Apparently we aren’t alone with helmetless youth:
“Bike helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury or death by up to 85 percent. Yet, only about 15 percent of all children nationally wear a helmet when they ride a bike.” (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute)
The other thing I’ve seen is a lack of following the ‘rules of the road’.
We have bikes that go with traffic, bikes that go against traffic and bikes in the middle of traffic!
Often as a car driver, one plays ‘guessing game’- is the bike going to cut over mid-street in front of me?
It certainly makes driving stimulating!
I hate sounding like a ‘Gloomy Gus’ as people who know me would say I’m usually a pretty upbeat guy.
No doubt, one of the great experiences is to see the joy on a child’s face as they furiously pedal maneuvering their bike on sidewalk and street.
I just worry about someone ending up on the wrong end of two tons of steel- it’ll wreck your whole day!

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