Cyclist Injured in Collision on Jay Street This Morning

A cyclist was struck this morning at around 9:30, riding on Jay Street near the Manhattan Bridge. Reader Dave Abraham emailed this report about the scene of the collision.

Cyclist struck, male, probably late twenties, lying on the ground, bleeding from the mouth and face. Small gray sedan with Jersey plates was parked by the curb, presumably the vehicular weapon, and another male, late twenties or early thirties, was standing with cops looking on, also bleeding a bit.

This happened on Jay Street, at Tillary… not in the intersection but maybe a hundred feet before the turn. NYPD and FDNY were on the scene, an ambulance was on the way, and a half dozen cyclists were looking on… with new riders approaching every minute on this central thoroughfare to the Manhattan Bridge. One cyclist told me he saw blood on the back of the car, so assumed the car stopped short and the cyclist ran into the rear.

It’s a sad and painful reminder for everyone, especially the hundreds of riders that will pass the scene. Two fellow cyclists were shaken up and grabbing their own heads, saying, "I don’t have a helmet." I advised each of them… "You can replace a helmet, not your head."

Streetsblog has a request in with NYPD for more information about the crash. We’ll post updates as they become available.

  • Tom

    “You can replace a helmet, not your head.”

    Gee thanks for naggng I never thought of that.

    You ought to visit all the schools and nag the kids until they wear helmets.

    BTW, why is it assumes the we vehicular weapon stopped short? Maybe, it was just stopped and the the cyclist didn’t stop in time.

  • Tiny Tim

    Without knowing any facts other than what is written here, why would the car be described as a “vehicular weapon”? Even if the car did stop short it might have had good reason to. When some rear ends you it is *always* considered to be their fault.

  • Eliot

    If you’re coming to the Manhattan Bridge from Fort Greene or Bed Stuy, the new Sands Street lane will get you there safe. If you’re coming from Park Slope or downtown Brooklyn, the bridge offramp that crosses Jay St is still very hazardous.

    Lately I’ve been adding a minute to my commute, by turning left at Tillary St and riding the bike lane on Adams toward the Manhattan Bridge. After years of dodging traffic on Jay Street I just couldn’t take it anymore….

  • paco

    Tom, sorry you take it as nagging… but the two cyclists i said it too both appreciated a reminder that benefits can help, after we all stood around a bloody face laying on the curb. And it was another cyclist telling me he assumed the car stopped short and the cyclist hit it. You’re right… it is very possible the car was stopped and it was the cyclist’s fault. I would only agree with the other spectator’s assumption because, in general, riders look where they are heading. Regardless, I hope this isn’t glossed over and instead it’s looked at as an actual investigation rather than blindly assigning blame. I’m sure Streetsblog will follow up on it.

  • Moses Horwitz

    “why would the car be described as a ‘vehicular weapon?'”

    Because it’s Streetsblog? Where’ve you been?

  • Doug

    Until the facts are known in this or any other case, it helps no one to refer to the car as a “vehicular weapon” or to assume that the cyclist was riding safely. I’m a bike commuter AND an occasional driver, and I’d hate to think that if I got into an accident that wasn’t my fault — getting rear-ended because someone was tailgating me, for example — I’d be labeled as a homicidal murderer simply for driving. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. We often decry those who disregard the facts to justify policies that favor driving and drivers while demonizing biking, and biking advocates ought not succumb to the same ignorance.

    To jump to the strange conclusion that the cyclist probably was in the right because “in general, riders look where they are heading,” opens this discussion up to the equally ridiculous complaints we’re so used to when they come from pedestrians and drivers. “All bikers run over peds! They all go the wrong way on one-way streets! They are a menace!” No. Some riders are safe, some riders aren’t. Most ride with a mixture of both.

    The cyclist very well may have been riding safely and doing no wrong, but until there’s an eyewitness account no one has any basis for assigning blame or absolving one side of fault. The most anyone should or could do with the level of information for an accident like this is to simply remind each other to be safe out there.

  • Dave “Paco” Abraham description may well have been colored by the fact that he was creamed by a hit-and-run driver a few months ago and banged up pretty badly. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet, or it could have been more serious than broken bones.

  • Brooklyn

    Did this happen northbound or southbound on Jay? If the former, the bike lane on jay is subject to the whims of the placard-bearing civil service menace. $1 says the sedan has an FDNY-related driver if this is the case. I’ve been stopped short and cut off by drivers racing to double park and drop someone off. Drivers are also often nosing around for a u-turn in those parts, looking for cars but sometimes not for bikes.

    If the latter, that’s tougher to imagine: sight lines and pavement are very good rolling up to the intersection of Jay and Tillary headed south, lanes marked off for right turn onto Tillary for the Bklyn Bridge / straight ahead / left on Tillary. But this direction is downhill and you can pick up a good head of steam to make a green light. The car may have raced across two lanes to make the right turn and cut off the cyclist — an unusual turn for most cars to make, and I can imagine not watching my 9 o’clock as closely as usual.

    I’d appreciate any update as to the cyclist’s condition.

  • First post is right on the money; I’m glad for the news service streetsblog is providing, but the nagging, and the assumption of fault, are embarassing and detrimental to our case.

    Streetsblog’s audience should be the unconverted, not the choir.

    Hopin’ the cyclist isn’t too screwed up and that it was in fact the driver’s fault,

  • downtown brooklyn

    Eliot is totally right. I can’t believe how many cyclists risk their necks riding up Jay to the MB, when there’s a safe and comfortable bike lane just one block over on Adams.

  • Sam

    Adams is too many lanes of traffic for my taste, and i have no desire to make that left on Tillary. Jay street is embarrassingly bad considering it feeds the Manhattan bridge.

    Doug and others are right, it’s not fair to assume the driver was at fault without knowing more details. Especially when the details known so far imply the opposite.

  • Josh

    I’m still not clear on where this took place – anyone have a better description?

  • paco

    agreed to all. demonizing anyone without knowing the facts won’t help anything. i’m just hoping the dude is alright but it was without a doubt some sort of head trauma. josh, it happened on the northbound moving lane on jay street, about a hundred few south of the intersection with tillary. i guess that’s maybe 2/3 of the way up the block from bridge street.

  • Thanks for clarifying so quickly, Paco. (And for the original report.)

  • I take the Adams Street bike lane everyday to the MB and while I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s “safe and comfortable” it offers safer access to the Bridge than Jay Street does. Cyclists coming from Smith Street who want to avoid the Tillary/Jay intersection altogether may want to make a left on Johnson Street, which is an easy detour that will allow them to avoid the cars often blocking the bike lane on Adams Street.

  • The Sands street lane is still very new and cyclists, particularly those of us who don’t use the Manhattan Bridge on a daily basis, may not yet be aware of it or may simply not have integrated it into our routes. I only use the Manhattan Bridge occasionally so I take the simplest and most obvious route that will take me towards Prospect Park or Cobble Hill.

    I have noticed cyclists coming from Downtown Brooklyn using the southbound Jay Street bike lane in both direction to avoid all that merging bridge traffic. Perhaps turning this into a real two way lane, similar to the Tillary Street lane approaching the Brooklyn, would be a safer solution.

  • This should be the approximate location:

    View Larger Map

    Regardless of fault, that bike lane could sure use some new paint (assuming the condition in the photo hasn’t been remedied).

  • I went to a DOT community planning session on the redesign of Tillary St. and told them the Jay/Tillary intersection area is where I felt the *highest chance* of being killed. They asked why I didn’t take Adams, and as greensT mentioned, I don’t because bike lanes are often as blocked, cars speed by with no police enforcement, and there’s a dangerous brick line ripe for tire damage or knocking my balance off. Recently I’ve been taking Henry to Tillary and then either take the BK bridge or continue on to Adams and then Sands to the Manhattan bridge. Yes, longer but only by a *few minutes*, and on safer streets, with a pleasant tree-lined ride. Commuting is not about racing.

    Since I ride every day, I prefer taking the safest route these days, not the most direct. Riding on safer streets means *reducing the chances* of ever getting into an accident, which I find a far more sensible approach than mere helmet use which only helps reduce body damage when you’re already *in* an accident. Prevention over pre-emptive-band-aids. Bottom line: NYC needs MORE safely designed streets, now!

  • Oddly enough, this section was photographed by Paul Kronenberg and posted to his website over the summer. Today’s Spokes column about Kronenberg’s journey through all 620+ miles of the City’s bike paths links to this page.


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