FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Emergency Services Commissioner Supports Markers for Putnam Bikeway


Adam B. Stiebeling, Commissioner
Bureau of Emergency Services
(845) 808-4000

June 20, 2013

Emergency Services Commissioner Supports Markers for Putnam Bikeway

Commissioner of Emergency Services Adam B. Stiebeling wants trail markers installed along Putnam Bikeway – and he wants them now.

“The importance of proper trail markers cannot be over emphasized,” said Stiebeling. “Knowing instantly the correct location of a caller in an emergency situation is essential to the safety of the people that are making use of the Bikeway trail each and every day.”

Since the day the first portion of the Putnam County Bikeway opened in Mahopac, emergency service agencies realized they had been left out of the planning process. Not only did they face an increase in call volume but they also faced limited access to the trail and no uniform method of identifying caller location along the popular foot and bicycle path.

“The issue of the lack of trail markings was first brought to my attention by the Mahopac Fire Department,” said Stiebeling. “When we attempted to resolve the problem with the help of the County Highway Department, we learned the original project did not include provisions for signage or markers.”

Today the Bikeway extends from Mahopac through the Hamlet of Carmel and into Southeast.

Director of Emergency Medical Services Robert Cuomo noted that trail markers could mean the difference between life and death.

“Trail markers will allow emergency crews to quickly locate the victim and provide immediate care which, in some cases, could mean the difference between a person surviving a medical emergency or not,” Cuomo said.

Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services Robert Lipton explained how the 911 Center could locate a caller injured or in need of medical attention on the Bikeway.

“A 911 caller can read location information from the trail marker and give it to the dispatcher at the 911 Center who can then plot the caller’s precise location by means of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping data,” Lipton said. “Cell phones can and do provide location information but reception issues and the lack of reference points in remote areas of the trail can cause major delays in finding someone who needs help.” 

Documented emergencies on the bike trail range from simple bumps and bruises to lacerations and bleeding, broken bones, cardiac arrest and lost children.

Stiebeling emphasized the opportunity afforded the County by the proposed partnership with Bikeway Country.

“This much needed safety measure can be accomplished at no cost to the County,” Stiebeling said. “This project, having the trail markers installed, is truly in the best interests of the community. It’s a win-win for all.”