Steel Plate Road Hazards
We’ve all been there. A wet day, a 4’x8′ steel plate in the road, and you need to make an emergency stop. As you save your scoot from a slide, you wonder: How are these things legal?
They’re not legal! Since 2001 the DOT has mandated [link] that the steel road plates “have a skid-resistant surface equal to or greater than the adjacent existing street or roadway surface.” This usually means painting with orange-peel textured “truck bed liner” paint, a nubby surface that your boots and tires can grip.
A 2004 study [link] by Transportation Alternatives found that 66% of the plates were not skid-resistant. The DOT has the power to fine construction sites – call 311 and they will inspect within 10 days; the contractors then have 30 days (!) to make the plate(s) compliant.
Maybe the skid coating wears off. Maybe contractors just don’t care. But we do.
Help us save a rider’s life: Start reporting those plain, slick road plates when you see them. A 311 call makes NYC DOT legally liable for neglecting to enforce these rules.
1. Call 311 with a location of the road plate. State that it does not have a “skid-resistant surface” and is in violation of DOT road safety standards. OR…
2. Go to NYC.gov’s online 311 and report the hazard here. OR…
3. Download the NYC311 [link] iPhone app (free!) and follow the instructions for a new request, street condition.
Take a moment of your ride home today and report a few of these plates. Leave for work early tomorrow and get every one on a main thoroughfare. DOT won’t inspect these voluntarily – it’s up to you to make it happen.