Uber Driver Injures Cyclist at Hudson River Greenway Crossing

A for-hire driver in an Uber cab hit a cyclist on the Hudson River Greenway at Liberty Street, rendering the victim unconscious. Photos: Adam White
A for-hire driver in an Uber cab hit a cyclist on the Hudson River Greenway at Liberty Street, rendering the victim unconscious. Photos: Adam White

A for-hire driver in an Uber cab injured a cyclist on the Hudson River Greenway last week.

Adam White, an attorney who represents traffic crash victims, came upon the scene at around 6 p.m. last Thursday. The cab driver was turning right from West Street onto Liberty Street when he hit the cyclist with a Toyota SUV.

White said the victim, a young man, was unconscious when EMTs fitted him with a neck brace and placed him in an ambulance. “It did not look good,” White said.

The NYPD public information office sent us a “he said-he said” account of how the crash occurred, with the driver blaming the victim.

“[T]here was a vehicle and bicycle accident where the driver of a [livery] car states he was making a right turn onto Liberty Street when the bicyclist came out of nowhere and [hit] his car,” NYPD said via email. “The bicyclist stated he was going straight on a green light when he got struck by [the] car.”

While police have yet to assign fault, both accounts support the conclusion that the driver violated the cyclist’s right of way. There is no dedicated signal for drivers making right turns from West onto Liberty, which means turning motorists are required to yield to people walking and biking across the intersection.

NYPD did not send the Collision Investigation Squad to the scene, so it’s unlikely police conducted a full-scale crash investigation. White said there were many cops on the scene, but they didn’t seem to be investigating the collision.

The TLC provided no information on the crash or the driver. Unless NYPD filed charges it’s likely he’s still driving a cab.
The TLC provided no information on the crash or the driver. Unless NYPD filed charges it’s likely he’s still driving a cab.

NYPD told us there were “no serious injuries.” But the FDNY press office said the victim was unconscious and was transported to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition. “The guy was motionless with his eyes closed,” said White. “It was pretty disturbing.”

The cab is licensed to Uber base Funfzehn. Though Uber dominates the ride-hail market in NYC, the city does not track crashes that involve Uber drivers.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission provided no information about the crash or the driver, referring us to NYPD. Unless police file charges, in all likelihood this driver will face no TLC penalties.

Collisions caused by drivers turning across the Hudson River Greenway can be deadly. Last year 30-year-old cyclist Olga Cook was killed by an allegedly drunk driver who made a right turn across the greenway at Chambers Street. Police refused to investigate when a bus driver hospitalized a greenway cyclist in Hell’s Kitchen in 2014, saying the crash was “clearly an accident.” In 2006 an NYPD tow truck driver who failed to yield struck and killed Carl Henry Nacht as he and his wife Mary Beth Kelly rode their bikes on the greenway at W. 38th Street.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    This needs a dedicated turn signal to protect greenway users. There is no way around this and it should have been done years ago. If they aren’t going to do this at least paint the damn thing green.

    It would also help if the greenway didn’t give out 30 feet from the intersection, dumping people cycling onto a mixed sidewalk. Navigating that while watching for turning drivers is difficult. Too many stimuli.

  • AMH

    This is all so familiar to any greenway user. Those NYPD tow truck drivers are awful citywide, and vehicles whipping around the corners in Lower Manhattan make riding there terrifying. Looking over your shoulder for turning vehicles while looking ahead for pedestrians, it’s a terrible design. How many more have to be KSI before this gets fixed?

  • AMH

    Yes, paint should be deployed immediately while DOT figures out a permanent fix.

  • Vooch

    It should be simple to add flex posts to create a bump-out at corner to slow turning drivers down enough so they can’t whip around the corner.

  • If you’re crossing the busiest bikeway in the country, cyclists don’t come “out of nowhere.” They come out of everywhere.

  • Eric McClure

    Exactly what I was going to write. I wonder which of the multiple distractive devices found in a typical Uber vehicle the driver was looking at when he made the turn?

  • Brian Howald

    But just in case you’re not paying attention or have your head buried in a phone, there’s a sign literally ten feet before the crosswalk:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7114451,-74.0146009,3a,30y,224.19h,90.23t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s3nL6vujjoS1vP7WOwd28YQ!2e0!5s20160501T000000!7i13312!8i6656

  • Bobbi Koval

    Thank you again Brad for reporting the too often he said she said accounts of the deadly crashes in NYC. As I recall The Gothamist was provided victim blaming information from the NYPD when my son Jack was killed by an off duty Officer on July 31,2016. Unfortunate that Jacks side of the story will never be told. Victim blaming and poor investigation continues to allow NYC drivers to believe they are not responsible for the carnage. In Jacks case the off duty officer took command of he scene and provided his own investigation……….

  • walks bikes drives

    There should be a dedicated turn lane and a dedicated turn arrow for crossing the bike path and obviously a split phase signal on the bike path.

    Edit: or instead of a split phase signal, put a red flashing arrow for right turns.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yeah, like many drivers pay attention to the yield signs. On second thought to my comment below about a dedicated turn signal, a flashing red arrow would work too, requiring drivers to come to a stop before proceeding through the intersection from a dedicated turn lane.

  • Brian Howald

    I got a call and an email from DOT on Monday that they are apparently installing split phases at more of the Greenway crossings in CB1. Anyone hear anything this week?

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