Eyes on the Street: Cyclist Hit, Injured in Midtown

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Streetsblog San Francisco’s Bryan Goebel, blogging from New York this week, came upon the scene of a driver-cyclist collision in Midtown Manhattan at around 1:30 this afternoon.

"The bicyclist — according to one witness — was traveling northbound on Eighth Avenue past 43rd in the left lane and a delivery van pulled out from the curb and hit him," said Bryan.

Police and EMTs were on the scene for about half an hour.

Warning: the top pic after the jump may be considered graphic by some. Also, the shot of the van and the bike was taken after the bike was moved.

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  • I’m recovering from a hit and run myself, and imagined these pics are similar to what the scene at my intersection must have looked like had it been daytime. My heart goes out to this unknown cyclist; On behalf of the livable streets community everyone, we wish the victim recovery and good health… we wish the driver a conscience to learn from this…and we wish Albany would finally make hitting a pedestrian or cyclist a god damn prosecutable crime!

  • I wonder if he was in the left hand lane or bike lane there?

    The bike lane in that section is almost completely worn away now.

  • Prediction: the driver was not charged.

  • Brooklyn

    Looks like the left-hand lane. Looks like the van peeled out of the parking spot ferociously just as the cyclist was passing by — note the steep angle of the van’s nose compared to the sidewalk. Also note the bike only has a front brake — cyclist could have endo’ed trying to panic stop.

    And the pic’s not graphic at all. Guy’s down, no gore.

    Hope the cyclist’s okay.

  • I’m sorry for the injured person, and wish him/her a swift recovery. This is more proof that lines on pavement do nothing to help us; protected bike lanes on every avenue in midtown are necessary NOW. We should not have to rely on individual motorists’ looking out for us: the city needs to provide us with safe streets. A bike lane is not a bike lane if cars necessarily travel through them.

  • aliostuni : A bike lane is still a bike lane if cars necessarily, or even carelessly use it or obstruct it. I’ve used the 8th ave bike lane since I started commuting, and my 14 y.o. brother uses it to commute to high school. It’s definitely safer than 6th avenue past 42nd street, which doesn’t have a painted bike lane.

  • Hmmm….

    I wonder if it would have been easier for the driver to see the cyclist if the bicycle lane had been on the right side of the road?? (No, I won’t let it go.) It’s much harder for the driver to see overtaking traffic coming up on the passenger side of vehicle.

  • Brooklyn

    A better indictment would be that being in the bike lane at all, hugging the parking lane, and riding in every vehicle’s blind spot, doomed the cyclist. If he were fully taking a traffic lane, he would have room to maneuver, or not had to have maneuvered as Mr. Van nosed out of the parking spot.

    Just north of Times Square, middle of the day, a wide one-way boulevard with traffic either jammed to a standstill or surging forward against every green light — just a bad, bad combination of circumstances. I’ve been there and it always feels like walking a tightrope.

  • Andy, having the lane on the left (parked vehicle’s passenger side) reduces incidence of dooring and means that the bus doesn’t have to maneuver through the bike lane in order to pull into a bus stop.

  • Bike lanes are all fine and dandy, but clearly drivers are not paying sufficient attention on the road. It would have been easier for the driver to see the cyclist if the driver was paying better attention, not if the bike lane was on the left, right, or center. Even if a cyclist is doing nothing wrong, the attitude is always “the biker wasn’t where he should have been,” not “the driver was careless.” I got told by a cabbie two days ago that “bikes need to be in their spot on the side,” right after he almost hit someone I was with when he peeled out from–you guessed it–idling in the bike lane. Separation is not the be-all, end-all. We need much harsher penalties. Take away the guy’s license so he learns what it’s like to be that vulnerable on a NYC street. I wish the cyclist a full recovery. It’s a shame.

  • That cyclist was not in that guy’s blind spot. He just didn’t look at all before pulling out. I’m sure this happens all the time with car vs. car, but you’re not going to read about that in the news. With a bicycle moving at 15 mph vs. a stopped van, that cyclist would have been in his blind spot for a second, maximum. Hardly worth mentioning.

    This is just about people not exercising due diligence, or as they charge you for while poor driving in Virginia that results in a collision, not “paying full time and attention.” Seems like that charge needs to be made available and used by NYPD in these instances.

  • Gwin

    Hmmmm… I’ve always found 7th and 8th Avenue between 34th and 50th to be particularly dangerous due to the large amount of commercial traffic AND the fact that the commuters headed to/from Penn Station think it’s okay to walk in the street and/or extend the crosswalks well out into the avenue (hey, if there are lots of us, we can’t possibly get hurt!).

    I avoid that area for that very reason. 9th and 10th are a much better option.

  • Gwin

    … and of course, I wish this poor cyclist a speedy recovery.

  • t

    The odds of him being in the van’s blind spot are slim. He would have had to have been standing in it for him to miss him. It seems more like he didn’t look long enough, or wasn’t looking for a bike and only cars. Who knows? But the odds that he was in his blind spot at the exact moment…unlikely.

    The bigger question here is, what would have happened had the van driver hit another motorist and caused an injury? Surely there would be some sort of charges, information exchanged, insurance payments, etc. I hope the cyclist gets some of the same treatment that anyone in a car would in this situation.

  • momos

    Well said, Paco. I’m with you. I had a hit and run too and I’m quite sure the scene looked like this as well. Mine was at night, also. I hope you’re recovering quickly, and I hope this rider does too.

  • I respectfully disagree, Liam. That makes it a multi-use lane. I can take the lane when there’s no painted bike lane present, and then the occasional angry motorist can’t tell me to “get in the bike lane”, and I’m also riding in a predictable, consistent matter, without veering in and out of an obstructed “lane.” But…we have plenty of room for protected lanes on our broad avenues, and any city with large groups of citizens who cycle (Montreal, Copenhagen, Amsterdam) has these lanes allowing people of any physical ability to enjoy their use. Riding shouldn’t only be for the young and brave, and our current bike lanes dictate that. As for the comment about 9th and 10th Avenues…9th Ave. is downtown only, so that’s not an option, and 10th Ave. is an absolute nightmare of a speedway…I’m surprised they were suggested!

  • I’ll re-plug my idea for avenues like 8th in Manhattan:

    Put a bike-/fire-only lane in the *center,* and put signals at every intersection that give cyclists advance time to enter it and exit from it before cars can move:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10798592@N08/1414440531/

    I really think the city should try this somewhere (i.e. any of its congested, one-way, straight avenues that get used by a lot of cyclists). If they’re going to the trouble of building protected cycletracks–which the city still considers somewhat experimental or “trial”–then they could also try this, which would probably cost a little less money (it doesn’t involve any concrete or other hard material rebuilding).

    I do hope the cyclist is going to be okay.

  • I hate to sound judgmental, but a bike lane in the center of a Manhattan avenue sounds like a terrible idea. Even if nobody except emergency vehicles drove in it (and you can bet police cars would use it even in non-emergencies), you’d still have cars cutting across it all the time.

  • J. Mork

    Many streets already have a narrow bike lane down the center, e.g.: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenzodom/34644156/

    (Use them at your own risk.)

  • Josh, check out the design. The lane would be colored, and on every block it should say “no cars except crossing” and “fire and bike only.”

    Furthermore, even if cars did constantly abuse it even with such markings (and for many reasons I think they wouldn’t), I think cyclists would *still be safter there,* given the enter and exit time afforded by the traffic lights (and the calming provided by the whole design), *than on the edge of the road.*

    The design may seem crazy now, and indeed it may always seem crazy, but if the bicycling population continues to grow, then I think that in ten years or less, this design might look a lot more appealing. And it’s just because of that future chance that, aware that the idea may never truly take, I’ll still continue to plug it for consideration.

  • LN

    When will the DOT give us a safe way to ride all the way up 8th avenue? This is a very dangerous bike lane drop out, and has always been a crash waiting to happen, it happened yesterday.

    8th ave and 43rd street scenario everyday is: Any cyclist with any experience is already in the middle of the left lane, having just negotiated 8th ave btwn 40-42nd, in front of port authority with no bike lane and no where for bikes to go except the middle of the lane. Having contended with weaving taxis, construction blocked off far left lane and cars taking an illegal left hand turn from the middle lane, on the other side of the bollards, then cyclist must contend with illegally parked cars, trucks, vans, police cars in the bike lane between 42nd and 43rd.

    If you survived that, and all the double parked limos and police cars on midtown 8th ave then you get to contend with Columbus circle, which is another very dangerous bike lane dropout with no safe place for cyclists other than the middle of the lane.

  • Richard

    Right, LN, and then, how the @!$)(*@$ are we supposed to get into Central Park from Columbus Circle? Or get out of the park there?

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