Saturday, September 10, 2011

Update on Doug Daniele Memorial Ride

The course for the Doug Daniele Memorial Ride on Sept. 11 has been changed.

Due to twigs, rocks and other debris on River Road (Hudson River Drive,) the ride will now leave from Strictly Bicycles and proceed north along Hudson Terrace, then Route 9W up to the Alpine Police Station in Alpine, NJ (about 7 miles).

The ride will still meet at 8:30 am with a prompt departure at 9 am from the Strictly Bicycles parking lot on Hudson Terrace and Myrtle Avenue

The ride will proceed North along Hudson Terrace to Palisades Avenue (also known as Dyckman,) take a right on Route 9W, and proceed north.

When we reach Clinton, we will pick up riders from Tenafly, NJ who will be joining the group. Tenafly riders are expected to either wait for us on Clinton or more than 300 yards north of the Clinton/ 9W intersection on the shoulder.  Those riders will take the lead if they are in front.

We will continue north until we reach the right hand turn to Palisades Parkway Commission headquarters. 

We will turn right and proceed south down the hill about a half mile to the Palisades Parkway Commission headquarters.

There we will stop to give our remembrances of Doug. Anyone will be allowed to speak, and we will wait until the last person has had their say. 

Then the ride will proceed informally up to Piermont, NY and Nyack, NY. Riders are encouraged to continue north in Doug's spirit after remembrances are spoken.

Drivers and others can meet us at the parkway headquarters. There is a parking lot there (which is small). If there is not enough parking you can park further south of the HQ on the side of the road.

Please call 917 723 9017 for questions, or email jbenepe@msn.com

Thanks so much everyone, and looking forward to seeing you there.

RULES of the RIDE:

NO MORE THAN TWO ABREAST. Please, we don't want any accidents.

Ride in formation, two at a time.

Wait for the group after lights have split the group.

Please stay within the white line area of the shoulder. If you cannot do this with two abreast, please single up.

Please, please do not ride to the left over the white line in the shoulder unless you look behind first for approaching cars

Please ladies and gentlemen, no racing. We will wait for the slowest rider. You can race your heart out later.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Memorial Ride Planned For Daniele on Sept. 11

Doug Daniele in Nyack, NY courtesy of Nick Piscitelli
Cyclist Doug Daniele will be memorialized in a bicycle ride this weekend held in his honor.

Daniele was killed while riding his motorcycle on August 31 on Route 17 in Sloatsburg, NY when a motorist cut him off while trying to execute an illegal turn.

The ride will take place on Sept. 11, gathering at 8:30 am and leaving promptly at 9 am from Bruce Reynolds Boulevard and Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee, NJ, just south of the entrance to the George Washington Bridge.

Organizers attempted to plan the ride on anything other than 9/11, but when no other date became feasible, realized that Daniele himself would want to honor the date when so many Americans were killed in the World Trade Center towers disaster.

Happy riding days in 2009, Nick, Jen and Doug
The ride will proceed from the entrance of the Palisades Park roadway which is affectionately known as River Road but whose formal name is really Henry Hudson Drive, seven miles to the top of the Alpine Police Station hill. The ride will take a stop there for friends and fellow riders to to speak their remembrance about Daniele and 9/11.

The ride will end there, but riders are encouraged to continue as a less formal group to Piermont, NY and Nyack, NY.

Daniele was well known in New Jersey, partly because of his role as top salesman at D & C Honda in Tenafly, NJ, but also because he was a friendly guy who loved to ride his bikes whether they be road, mountain, or as he did earlier in life, BMX.

Daniele's mtn bike friends gathered on Sept. 1
Below is the full description of the Daniele Memorial 9/11 Ride

Date: Sunday, September 11 ·  8:30am -  1 pm
Meet: On sidewalk north of entrance to River Road, between Fort Lee and Edgewater NJ just south of George Washington Bridge (Bruce Reynolds Blvd. and Hudson Terrace, Fort lee, NJ)
 

Doug Daniele and two other stooges
YES it is an auspicious and revered day, just like Doug would have liked it, to ride on this day for those who fell in the World Trade Towers disaster.

For those who do not know, Doug was an avid cyclist, a dear friend, and resident of Paramus NJ. He was cut off by an automobile while riding his motorcycle last Wed., resulting in his death. (See stories at http://benepesbikeblog.blogspot.com/ <http://benepesbikeblog.blogspot.com/> )

The ride leaves the top of the hill at 9 am, proceeds down the hill, enters the Palisades Park and travels north along the river to the Alpine Police Station. We are asked by the Palisades Park Commission to please ride single file when cars are passing, which will likely only be necessary past the second boat basin (about 3 miles in).

Some riders will be coming up from Tenafly, NJ, or from Strictly Bicycles. We will wait for them to arrive (they are supposed to leave Tenafly at 8:30 am).

Ride will go all the way to Alpine, NJ, (about 7 miles) where we will stop briefly to read or speak spontaneously about our wonderful friend who was killed by an automobile on August 31, around 2:30 pm in Sloatsburg, NY. Poetry or simple reflections welcome.

THIS RIDE IS NOT A RACE. Please leave your racing brain at home. (thanks, I know how hard it is). You can race from Alpine to Nyack if you like.

Some of us will continue on to Piermont, NY and Nyack, NY, but we will not expect everyone to stay together. For those who would like to stay together, there will be a regrouping at both destinations.

Ride home is on your own or with your friends. Personally I would like to ride with everyone up to Nyack, it just won’t be formal because of the way the road becomes narrow at State Line.

Email jbenepe@msn.com with more questions or call 917 723 9017. Rain Date: October 2, 2011.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Doug Daniele, Father, Cyclist, Motorcyclist, Person, Mourned

Happier days in Paramus, NJ: Daniele and his sons and a friend
Motorist inexperience possible factor in fatal crash
Sept. 3, 2011
Doug Daniele, 48, of Bergen County, NJ was mourned yesterday and today by family, friends and acquaintances.

Daniele was killed in a tragic crash with a motorist on August 31 in Suffern, NY while riding his motorcycle. 

The loss of Daniele who touched so many lives brought tears to the eyes of many who attended his wake on Friday held in Oradell, NJ and a mass in his honor today at the Church of the Annunciation in Paramus, NJ.

Many never thought this day would come because Daniele was the bedrock of their lives, his friends recounted. He was passionate, loving, and seemed to make just about everyone feel like they were the most important person in the world.

So it may have been no surprise at today's services when even grown men who looked like they were as tough as line backers sobbed alongside women dressed in black dresses and pearls. No eye was dry, no head was unbent as the Reverend spoke about the greatness of Daniele, and how his full life was intended to be a long one. "This was not God's plan," he said of Daniele's passing.

Daniele's wife Carol Sandorse Daniele spoke in a quiet voice, her face beautiful but clearly wracked since her husband's passing. She wore a black suit that seemed to both accentuate her petite frame and evoke the fragility of life.

In a moment that could tear any heart to pieces, but also render it whole through its tenderness, Daniele's three sons Michael 13, Joseph 10, and Jesse 30 now bereft of their father, laid a ceremonial cloth on his casket.

Beverly Cancellieri, Daniele's sister, also spoke about her brother with emotion breaking her composure and her words.

Though Daniele's life was not only about cycling, many who came to respect him had ridden with him either on a road bike, a mountain bike, or on a motorcycle.

After the mass, Daniele's fellow mountain bike cyclists acknowledged that he had been their clear leader, organizing them through the North Jersey Mountain Bike Association where he was the founder.

Some members of the NJMBA gathered at a local diner after the mass to pass around photos of their times together, to talk about his humor, to recount special moments and places, and most of all to try and feel better about the gnawing empty feeling in their stomachs that appeared when Daniele's soul left the earth.

Motorist Inexperience Possible Factor in Daniele Crash

Meanwhile the details of Daniele's crash with the 17-year-old motorist were still pending the outcome of a police investigation.

A spokesperson for the Ramapo Police Dept. confirmed that since the motorist was underage her name would not be released.

Speaking for the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, spokesman Nicholas Cantiello confirmed that it is illegal to move from the right hand lane to perform a left hand turn.

Because of her age, the motorist was most likely to have been operating the 2008 Honda Civic with a driver's permit. Under state law, she would have to be accompanied by a legal guardian or parent in the car, in this case, her mother in order to drive.

But Cantiello said that U-turns in general are not legal on state highways such as  Route 17.

Stefan Koncz, a friend of Daniele who lives in the area of the incident and happened to pass by the scene of the incident that day said there was a break in the meridian that the driver was likely trying to reach when she turned to perform a U-turn.

Traffic in that portion of the roadway also begins to slow as it narrows and enters a 40 mile-per-hour speed zone, explained Koncz, so a properly performed U-turn may have been legal. But repeated calls to the Ramapo Accident Investigation team have not confirmed whether this driver will be summonsed for the turn.

The driver and her mother were overheard arguing loudly after the crash about how she was to have taken the turn, according to eye witnesses, each one allegedly with a different version of events.

Drivers involved in fatal incidents can be summonsed after the fact if the investigation finds that they broke the law, said Cantiello.

Though there is no word on whether the driver will be summonsed for her actions leading up to the crash, the motorist's age and inexperience may have played a part: Young drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 cause more crashes and fatalities than any other age group.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens and the crash fatality rate is highest for 16 to 17 year olds within the first six months of getting their license," said NYS DMV Commissioner David J. Swarts in 2010. 

Young drivers represent only 12 percent of all drivers, yet they account for 20 percent of drivers involved in crashes, said a report completed by his office. And 16 and 17-year-olds are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than the rest of the driving population, it concluded.

The problem is not a new one, and on February 22, 2010, legislators instituted additional hurdles for teens looking to obtain their driver's license in New York by requiring 50 hours of driving time in a car with a guardian (up from 20), and allowing only one other passenger in the vehicle (rather than two.)

Though many believe that drunk driving among teens is the leading cause of crashes, driver error, speeding and being distracted are the biggest causes, said the DMV in a statement.

But even these new requirements beg the question, how can any of this help if the parent doesn't have common sense and allows an inexperienced driver to operate on a state highway? And how does the new law prevent young people from committing errors of judgment while driving just because their parent is present? In two words: it doesn't.

Whether a parent allows their child to drive on a state highway is up to them, said Cantiello, even if it makes no sense at all to have an inexperienced driver on a fast road with many traffic challenges.

And though parents must accompany their children under the supervised driving rules, if a child commits an error--such as causing a fatality, the crash becomes part of the child's driving record, not the parent's, said Cantiello.

Depending on the outcome of the accident investigation in Daniele's crash, the driver will likely have to attend a special hearing on the crash, where her conduct will be evaluated. As a result, she could face misdemeanor charges, or delays anywhere from a year to several years in obtaining a driver's license.

The driver could also be facing criminal charges if the investigation finds that she broke any laws such as texting while driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

On July 31, 2011 New York State Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's proposals for a national teen driver safety plan were approved by a key Senate committee.  The legislation would set national standards for states to implement Graduated Drivers License (GDL) programs that prepare teens to be safe, responsible drivers, said a spokesperson for Gillibrand's office.

Still, none of the laws in the U.S. compare to some European restrictions on teen drivers, where graduated driving rules keep teens off the roads until they have proven that they know how to drive.