Icy and Dicy: Bridge Bike Commuters Report Hazards After Late Snowfall

"N'ice day to walk your bike to work," tweeted Wiliamsburg Bridge commuter Will Sherman. Photo: Will Sherman/Twitter
“N’ice day to walk your bike to work,” tweeted Wiliamsburg Bridge commuter Will Sherman. Photo: Will Sherman/Twitter

It wasn’t enough snow for a sneckdown, but last night’s storm did mess with more than a few commutes this morning. Bike commuters discovered slippery conditions riding across the East River after winter threw one more dusting of snow at New York City.

Although the thin coating of snow on city streets melted under this morning’s sun, cyclists riding across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro Bridges encountered stretches of iced-over paths. Many cyclists dismounted and walked across the bridges. Of those who stayed in the saddle, a number reportedly slid and fell.

The #bikeNYC hashtag lit up Twitter this morning with warnings and complaints about the icy conditions. We’ve asked NYC DOT, which manages snow clearance on the bridge paths, if it had planned for last night’s snowfall or if it plans on clearing the bridges today. We’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

Things were no better on the Queensboro Bridge this morning. Photo: Jeremy Lenz/Twitter
Things were no better on the Queensboro Bridge this morning. Photo: Jeremy Lenz/Twitter
  • Jim

    These were the slipperiest surface conditions I’ve seen on the bridge all year. On the bright side, we all slowed down and walked together. Shout out to my new friend Carlos!

  • Big thanks to the good Samaritans on the Manhattan Bridge this morning who warned me to dismount before I hit the big ice patch on the downhill.

  • Jeff

    As soon as I was confronted with the delay, I started honking and making erratic, potentially deadly movements out of frustration.

    Just kidding. Everyone seemed to take it in stride.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    We didn’t even try the Hudson River Greenway this morning because the hairpin turn south of the 181st ramp is guaranteed to be a thin sheet of ice. Unless you’ve got studded shoes as well as tires or are exceptionally adventurous, forget it. You can’t really even walk your bike down that turn.

    Normally I’d next complain that parks never plows the greenway above 181st, which is indeed a problem, but even if they did in heavier snow, when it gets icy on the section of the greenway it takes forever to melt because it’s in a shadow most of the day, considerably colder than the sections just north and south. It’s a flaw of the location and another reason we need better alternatives uptown.

  • Reader

    Nobody employs the phrase “We’ll let you know if we hear anything back.” better than Streetsblog.

  • Bobberooni

    The hairpin was no problem this morning. A couple of icy patches, but easy to avoid. The wooden bridge over the Amtrak was covered in ice. The bridge over the Henry Hudson getting onto the Greenway was also somewhat icy. But all in all, it was no big deal.

  • Bobberooni

    The GWB was as icy as the rest of the pictures shown here. It wasn’t such a problem crossing, I just had to go slowly.

    But getting ONTO the GWB from NJ was really dangerous. The sidewalk and streets in NJ were perfectly clear, and I had no idea there was any problem. Approaching the bridge, you go around a couple of blind corners, and — BAM! — I found myself on sheer ice at 12mph (normally a fine speed for that bridge). I put my foot on the ground, nearly fell, and nearly hit someone else as well. A few orange cones at the entrance to get people to slow down would have done wonders.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    That bridge is also a problem when it gets icy, I guess b/c wood doesn’t retain or absorb heat as much as asphalt? Good to know that the hairpin is not so bad — usually ice outside my building like this morning = ice on the hairpin.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    The DOT has an official contingency plan for clearing the paths. I believe it’s called the Sun.

  • Jonathan

    Bridge freezes before road; on the Washington (W 181) Bridge to the Bronx, the bridge sections of the path were iced over, but the abutment parts over dry land were clear.

  • Jonathan

    Don’t worry; once the path on the west side of the rail tracks is built down to the GWB from Dyckman St, you and other Inwood people on bikes headed downtown will be able to safely avoid the giant pothole, the hairpin, and the rickety Amtrak bridge.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Alas, that path won’t connect to the Little Red Lighthouse for some time, if I recall the plans correctly. Will be great when it happens, though!

  • Rabi

    Even at 9:45am, the Manhattan Bridge still had a few dangerous patches. Another rider and I also almost got taken out by some ice falling from the roadway.

  • G

    Employ advice from motorcyclists and dirt bikers: take it easy, weight the pedals instead of your saddle (lower CofG) and bend your knees, eyes up toward the horizon line, and only use the rear brake, lightly. You’ll slide a bit, but might be alright unless you’re on a thin-tired road bike. I did OK on a CitiBike over the wburg bridge with pretty bald tires at around 9am.

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