In September of 2016, Gaby O’Shea was struck by a vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries. The New Paltz community quickly gathered around Gaby and her family and organized a fundraiser to aid in her recovery and to spark dialogue between motorists and cyclists regarding bike safety. Ryan Cronin offered to create a piece of art and sell it with a portion of the sale going directly to Gaby and her family to aid in her recovery. ‘Expect A Bike Ahead’ was born and was sold before the paint was dry to one of Cronin’s collectors.
Fast forward several months and Cronin was approached by the Bike-Ped Committee and Gaby’s father, Stephen O’Shea asking to use the image for a project they had in mind. Ryan agreed to lend the image for use as they saw fit. Two years after creating the artwork, it was turned into lawn signs that people have been seeing all around Ulster County for the past several years. The initial project was underwritten by O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, the firm that has been representing Gaby since the accident occurred. The signs were all given away for free, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Within two days, all of the signs were claimed.
In 2019, Cronin partnered with SUNY Ulster to produce more signs through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. These signs were also given away for free throughout Ulster County.
“Expect A Bike Ahead” lawn signs will once again be available; thanks to SUNY Ulster, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and La Luna Farm in New Paltz. Signs will be distributed, free of charge, on Sunday, September 20, at The Cronin Gallery, 10 Main St., Water St. Market, New Paltz. Fifty signs are available and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, between 11 am and 1 pm. Masks are required to enter the gallery.
“The power of the ‘Expect A Bike’ painting lies in the act of collaboration with the community and the social by-product more than in the physical work itself— in essence, the social interaction is the art and the impact of the project goes beyond the original piece,” said Melanie Cronin, CEO of CronArtUSA. “We didn’t set out to create a sign but this, like all of Ryan’s work is intended to strike a dialogue and conversation. We are very happy with the power of this piece to do just that.”