Bus Driver Seriously Injures Cyclist on Hudson River Greenway

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/HildaBikes/status/492305400432439296##@HildaBikes##
Photo: @HildaBikes

A bus driver seriously injured a cyclist on the Hudson River Greenway in Hell’s Kitchen this morning.

The crash occurred at 40th Street at approximately 9:42 a.m., according to FDNY. A man was transported to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition, a Fire Department spokesperson said.

Hilda Cohen tweeted the above photo of a stopped NY Waterway bus and a person on the ground near the right front wheel. According to Cohen, NYPD said the cyclist “hit the bus, but was then dragged under the front wheel.”

An NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog the department’s public information office had no details on the crash. New York City drivers strike nearly two pedestrians and cyclists an hour, on average. NYPD normally disseminates information only on the most serious crashes.

NY Waterway buses cross the greenway to access the 39th Street ferry terminal.

In general, motorist encroachment on the greenway poses a serious hazard to cyclists and pedestrians. In 2006, an NYPD tow truck driver who failed to yield killed Carl Nacht as he rode on the path at 38th Street, two blocks south of this morning’s collision. The same year, Eugenio Cidron drove drunk from a Chelsea Piers parking lot onto the greenway and killed cyclist Eric Ng.

The Hudson River Park Trust gets revenue from commercial enterprises inside the park, several of which have parking lots and driveways. The Trust plans to add more driveways and conflict points across the greenway to serve a new retail and food market with 75 parking spaces at Pier 57 in Chelsea.

We will post more details on this crash as they become available. Please leave any tips in the comments.

  • Mike

    My commute includes the Hudson River Greenway from Chambers to 103rd Street. That stretch near 40th has a few spots where cars/buses cross the greenway. I always take it very slow along there. There are lights, but they are ignored by many — both drivers (mainly cabs) and cyclists (like 90% of us) will ignore/fail-to-notice the lights. Joggers all over the bike lane don’t help much either. I’m honestly amazed there aren’t more accidents.

    I feel awful for this guy and hope that he’s ok — my tip is go slow and look in every direction through each of those intersections. In both directions (and especially from the north) you’re coming off a stretch free of stops or obstacles (except joggers and the occasional police horse), and it can be hard to change mindsets from zooming along to stop/start traffic, but folks need to slow down and be careful through this section.

  • Respectfully nitpicking: Is it certain the issue involves a *tour* bus operator? NY Waterways, whatever its pros and cons, normally might be considered something other than a tourist operation. Not sniping; just inquiring.

  • Amended, thanks.

  • Noticed that as well, looks like it was corrected already. I know several people who use that bus daily. It is a commuter bus.

  • Reader

    It’s not just that cars and buses cross the greenway, it’s that many of the access points from the West Side Highway are angled like highway off-ramps. There’s little that actually slows down drivers from 40 or 50 mph to a speed that would be appropriate for crossing a pedestrian- and cyclist-heavy environment, like 5 – 10 mph.

  • I used to cycle along the Greenway daily when my office was in midtown. I obviously don’t know what happened in this particular instance but those intersections are deadly and I share the views of those who’ve said it’s surprising there aren’t more crashes. I was careful always to obey the lights at the heavily-trafficked intersections because vehicles came through so fast. Vehicles turning from the northbound side of West St are particularly dangerous because they often won’t see cyclists on the Greenway as they swing across and they often complete their moves well after the lights change. I regularly remonstrated with bus drivers, taxi drivers and truck drivers who turned at speed through those intersections when I had the light.

    I feel very sorry indeed for the cyclist who’s been hurt in this incident and hope he makes a recovery.

  • Classic right hook. I was quite nearly hit in that exact spot last year. A cab right hooked me and I was forced to swerve into the sidewalk, and I fell off the bike. Luckily I escaped with just minor contusions.

    I still pass the spot every day, and it is often problematic. Both buses and cabs making a right turn from the adjacent West Side Highway often do not yield to bikes. From the position of this bus in the photo, it looks like it was making a right turn, so if the bus had a green light for the turn, then so did the cyclist. Clearly the bus did not yield.

    With the high volume of bike traffic this time of year, I believe many bus drivers get tired of waiting and just make a run for it when bike traffic appears to clear momentarily. If I see a bus waiting to turn as I approach, it is always a game of “will this bus driver yield the right of way to me.” Many times I’ve had to make sudden stops to avoid hitting a bus that has started turning. The problem is worst when there is bad weather, as the number of cyclists decreases and the number of people on the bus increases. Today’s overcast skies may have been a contributing factor.

    I think that a red/flashing yellow right arrow turn signal for cars/buses may reinforce that motorists must yield at this intersection.

    Other than Chelsea Piers’ driveway, which ALMOST ALWAYS has a human being present to direct traffic, this is the most dangerous driveway crossing the Greenway. The driveways for accessing the cruise ship terminals also frequently get crossing guards, though they often stop bikes when the bike light is green to let cars through, so their priorities seem off. I’d be hesitant to recommend a crossing guard, as most do more harm than good, stopping bikes but not stopping cars.

  • I think the turning vehicles from the southbound side of West St. are far more dangerous, as they have the green light at the same time as cyclists, and are often making the turn directly from the highway without stopping.

  • Nugget

    Also the cyclist appears to be heading south and there is a wall of trees and a curve which means that it’s nigh impossible for any vehicle to see a cyclist coming at speed down that path. There should be a blind spot mirror or at least a phased light here and a little further up where the Circle Line Ferry entrance is. When I bike this area this section is one of the most dangerous and I see folks barreling along this section with little care in the world.

  • My point, I suppose, is that it was much harder to see and work out the behavior of drivers coming from the far side of the road. I agree there are also substantial problems with southbound drivers – but I grew so used to their refusal to yield, negligence and speed that I’d approach the crossing looking back over my left shoulder to see what was coming and whether the driver seemed likely to yield.

    Caution, however, doesn’t protect one entirely and the fundamental point, I suppose, is that the intersections are an all-round mess.

  • BBnet3000

    If theyre going to be adding more crossings of the greenway in the future, i certainly hope they widen it when they do. Its really not wide enough for faster riders to pass slower ones comfortably all the time.

    Does anybody know what the CROW width standard for a bikeway like this would be?

  • Ian Turner

    Yes, I nearly got hit by a cab here this weekend. The intersection needs a flashing red arrow to make cars stop before turning.

  • Canonchet

    Note the reported NYPD terminology: the bus didn’t hit the bicyclist; the bicylclist ‘hit the bus.’ This says everything. This has to stop. I was hit biking in the exact same Hudson bike lane spot by a bus earlier this year – a bus that picks up Circle Line passengers and crossed into the bike lane, and straight inot me, while the bike traffic light at that bike-path intersection was still clearly signaling green. I was knocked over and down and bleeding heavily from where my hand was cut open by the bus’s front grill. Other cyclists called 911 and volunteered to remain as witnesses. The officers who quickly arrived in a patrol car survyed the scene – me still on the ground on the bike path, hurt and bleeding, bike upside down nearby, blocking the bus that was also still there on the bike path, with my blood visibly on its hood – and began quizzing the bus driver whether, or how, I had ‘run into’ her, thus causing the ‘accident.’

  • SteveVaccaro

    This is a serious design defect present at several spots on the Greenway, with the green light for the southbound MV traffic turning right at the same time as the green light for north and southbound bike traffic. The only thing preventing disaster is a small sign telling drivers to yield to cyclists that isn’t even present at all of these conflict points.

  • Hilda

    I spoke to the NYPD to inquire whether they were impounding the bike, as I know it may be necessary for evidence. Eyebrows were raised, and he responded, “Why would we investigate, this was clearly an accident.”
    I noted that the bus was turning while the cyclist had the green light, and this is when I was told the cyclist hit the bus, “which is obvious because the glass in the door was broken.”

    The attitude was nightmarish, with comments like:
    “A bus isn’t gonna yield to anyone”
    “The only reason this happened is because that guy was going too fast on his bike.”

    I, and a few other cyclists, was the only one taking photographs, and was told “things like this don’t need to be investigated, it was simply an accident.”

    The NYPD were somber, and respectful enough, but with this attitude, Intro 238 will never be enforced. There needs to be a number of items covered in the retraining that Bratton has spoken about.

  • chekpeds

    this is the same situation that requires spli phases on the streets . there should be a speed table at each of these crossings

  • Sean Kelliher

    When I pass this location, I always wonder why the Hudson River Trust doesn’t just reconfigure the path? Eliminate the light here and run the path so it arcs along the sidewalk of the Circle Line terminal, avoiding conflict between path users and motorists. A design like this already exists on the Greenway around Vesey Street.

    Path users and ferry passengers would need to work around each other. But, this seems preferable to the current situation.

  • If I remember correctly, the minimum width would be 2.5 meters and maximum of 4 meters in each direction because of the traffic potential for bicycles.

  • Crossing guard tip of the hat

    A shout out to the Chelsea piers crossing guards. They seem to understand that the bike/ped traffic is the priority and motor vehicles are intruding on the greenway here. Keep up the good work.

  • There’s a tunnel under Vesey keeping most pedestrians underground and away from bikes and West St. There are far too many ferry passengers at 39th St to make a grade crossing work. It is madness when a bus pulls up and people stream out, running to make their ferry. The only way to truly “solve” the problem would be a bridge or tunnel.

  • Guest

    “clearly an accident”? That’s why drivers get away with hurting and killing people. NYPD needs to get this too their thick heads that there is no such thing as “accident”.

  • nycbikecommuter

    “clearly an accident”? That’s why drivers get away with hurting and killing people. NYPD needs to get this too their thick heads that there is no such thing as “accident”.

  • nycbikecommuter

    Exactly, NYPD cops are so biased towards drivers that it skews their perception of reality. They can no longer be objective and are unable to perform their duties.

  • JK

    There is a direct conflict between the Park Trust’s fund raising and the safety of greenway users. The Trust is encouraging money making activities that result in more cars and trucks crossing the greenway. The Trust is engaging in a direct trade-off between money and safety. It is simply impossible for them to maximize revenue and maximize safety if they insist on accomodating motor vehicles. Sadly, the only thing likely to change this bad equation are huge lawsuits from injured path users that compell the Trust to change its priorities.

  • KeNYC2030

    If a car and a bus, rather than a bike and a bus, had collided, does anyone seriously think the cops on the scene would have dismissed it as an unavoidable, no-fault “accident” without some investigation?

  • Dan Savage

    I saw the accident and felt really bad for the guy. Somehow we cyclists have the mistaken notion that a green light means we can cross without begin hit by buses, cars, taxis, all of whom routinely go through the light. I videoed the intersection yesterday on my way to work so you can see the obvious problem.

  • walks bikes drives

    When I am riding, my mindset is simple: Everyone is going to do something stupid. I expect all cars to turn and all cars, especially cabs, are about to pull over without looking and block the bike lane. Sad, but it’s a way of life in this city. Especially because you can do anything with a car and, if there is any consequence, a slap on the wrist would hurt a lot more than the consequence.

    In this case, at the minimum, there should be split phase lights with a turn arrow for both directions.

    I have to agree that I am surprised there aren’t more bike/jogger or jogger caused bike/bike collisions on the bike path. Several times when I have ridden down the Hudson path on weekends, I have counted the number of joggers on the bike path between the Intrepid and Chambers street. (As a scientist and science teacher, I have actually done it in a statistically acceptable way – not just counting) and there is usually an average of one jogger for every hundred feet of bike path. Cyclists are not allowed on the pedestrian path, but pedesteians don’t think twice about running or walking on the bike path – usually in the middle of the lane at that.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Video the cops next time. Sin hides from light.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    We could solve that if we threw out the cars and put them on bikes. Since they aren’t allowed to perform high speed chases now anyway, it shouldn’t be a problem. Dump all the saved money into the NYPD pension plan.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    How much more money does the The Hudson River Park Trust need? Unless they are widening the bike/ped area (which they are not) why are we catering to these businesses at the loss of life and limb of our citizens? Is someone on the trust on the take, or do they just throw themselves expensive parties for helping the community so much?

  • Caryl Baron

    Clearly more crossing guards are needed, in more locations. The 38-42 St. section is particularly dangerous and in need of one. I’m sure all the businesses there could manage it financially. Being old and slow these days, I always check before going through.

  • johnnyglock

    I saw the whole thing happen right in front of my eyes. It most definitely was the cyclist’s own fault. The guy didn’t have a green light either. He thought he could get around the bus. He was hilariously wrong. He paid for it and then some. Let’s not get all indignant. A fuckwit got stamped. Sorry for him but that’s that.

  • johnnyglock

    I saw the whole thing right in front of me. The guy was a jackass and ran right into the bus. End of this story.

  • Jan Schreuder

    if the bus went thru a green light then the bike also had a green light and the right of way because the bus was turning and the biker going straight. The problem is bad design

  • Steve

    New York Pig Department… LOL

  • Wow, that’s shocking. I’m almost ready to lay most of the blame on the person who designed that.

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