Today’s Headlines

  • Veronica Vanterpool: Let’s Help Bus Drivers Operate Safely Without Gutting Right of Way Law (News)
  • Albany Shouldn’t Be Tempted to Cut Short the MTA Capital Plan and Call It a Victory (Crain’s)
  • Queens CB 4 Complains About Not Being Consulted at Meeting Where It Is Being Consulted (Q Trib)
  • Police Searching for Hit-and-Run Cyclist Who Sent Woman in Bike Lane to ICU (WNBC)
  • Seven Injured in Multi-Car Pileup on Lenox Avenue and 125th Street Wednesday (WNBC)
  • Cheap Parking Plus Lax Enforcement: WNBC Finds NYCHA Lot Full of Freeloading Car Owners
  • Weekend J Trains Extend to Broad St, Fulton Center Starting This Sunday (News, 2nd Ave Sagas)
  • MTA Board Members Slam Colleague That Astorino Wants to Represent Westchester (Post)
  • The Man Who Wants the PATH Added to the Subway Map Asks Straphangers What They Think (NJ.com)
  • This Is One Way to Make “I’ll Only Be a Minute” Double-Parked Drivers Think Twice (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Simon Phearson

    God, I didn’t think that Moya could get more irritating on 111th street. But it seems that, despite promising/threatening to be at the CB 4 meeting, he could only ultimately muster a “video” appearance. Again insisting, bizarrely, that the community was insufficiently consulted. Well, hey, Moya – how is anyone supposed to “consult” with a video? If you can’t even be bothered to show up at the meeting – unlike the many people who provided input at various meetings held by the DOT on this plan – why should anyone care what you think?

    Also, memo to NYC cyclists: could we *please* stop running down grandmothers? The First Ave. bike lane is a place to be expecting regular pedestrian traffic. You should be making noise and ready to come to a sudden stop any time you see any pedestrians near the path – especially those facing away from you.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    The hit and run cyclist looks like a delivery guy for one of the local restaurants. T

  • Yo! Where my Lexus that I left running on the street in Brooklyn? #deblasiosnewyork

  • Reader

    Anytime the TWU claims its drivers are being treated unfairly by Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, just add “for killing people” to the end of their sentence. It immediately exposes the moral bankruptcy of their position.

    “We think our drivers don’t deserve to be arrested…for killing people.” “It’s not fair that you would deprive a person of his livelihood…for killing people.” “We think bus drivers deserve to be treated differently than other New Yorkers…for killing people.” Etc.

  • Joe Enoch

    I’m sorry that the woman who was slammed to the ground by a bicyclist in the bike lane, but ultimately, it sounds like it was her fault. He should have stayed at the scene, but peds in the bike lane — particularly on 8th ave — have such an indignant attitude toward their wayward walking. I nearly slammed into two women who hopped out of a cab into the 8th ave lane last night. I dinged my bell twice, slammed on the brakes and then they had the gal to yell at me for speeding (I was biking 15 mph tops in a 50-year-old 3 speed).

  • Bobberooni

    Step into the middle of the Avenue and gets run over by car… careless pedestrian, you should look where you’re going. Step into the middle of the bike lane and get run over by a bike… KILLER BIKERS ON THE LOOSE!

    That said, it’s clear the biker should have stopped. But hit-and-runs happen EVERY DAY in New York City without making the news, how is this any different?

  • BBnet3000

    In this case she was crossing from her parked car to the sidewalk. Personally I’d yield to bicycles in such a situation (if she was crossing from her parked car to the opposite side of 1st Ave do you think she would have walked out in front of a car?) but I think the person on the bike was at fault.

  • Reader

    No. If this cyclist was zooming super fast, he should have slowed down knowing that people sometimes step into the bike lane. We can’t get caught up in a binary right/wrong blame game. That’s the same attitude that leaves cops saying that a pedestrian was at fault just because he crossed against the light, and ignoring other questions like how fast the driver was going, when he saw the pedestrian, etc.

    Let’s see what the facts are, if they come to light. Our full sympathy and support should go to the woman and her family.

  • kevd

    If you hit someone and don’t stop, you’re a horrible human being and deserve to be punished.
    That said, the description of the events do make it seem like the collision was not the cyclist’s fault.

  • roguebagel

    The reaction to the hit and run cyclist is hysterical (and not in the funny sense of the word)

  • roguebagel

    It’s not practical to slowly commute every trip down a protected bike lane, no one goes down a bike lane on 8th ave for recreation, they’re getting somewhere.

  • Simon Phearson

    I agree with you. Pedestrians shouldn’t enter the roadway in front of traffic. The law specifically prohibits doing so. It sounds like this person was another non-local not fully familiar with the bustle of the streets.

    That said – mistakes happen. People forget to pay attention. Kids run into the street. I think that means that drivers should slow down when driving down residential streets by schools and parks. Similarly, cyclists should be careful going down the narrow bike-alleys the city requires us to use.

  • Maggie

    Do you mean you recognize him? Delivery cyclists are required to wear reflective vests with the restaurant name and phone number.

    Google streetview for where this happened is at 1655 First Avenue. From the NBC reporting, she stepped from the munimeter on the sidewalk into the bike lane to where the white car is parked.

  • Reader

    Certainly not. But if you’re in a crowded neighborhood you have to bike for the conditions, just as we’d expect a driver to slow down. It’s hard to imagine that 86th and 1st Ave is open and clear in the middle of a weekday.

  • stairbob

    IIRC a lot more people cycling use the narrow door-zone lane on 6th Avenue than the protected lane on 8th. Between the gaps in protected lane and the severe lack of space for pedestrians on the sidewalk, it really takes a lot of care and patience to bike on 8th.

  • Geck

    There is a dilemma. If you are a trying to be law abiding cyclist who stops at red lights, you will tend to go at a reasonable quick speed (though still way below the speed limit) to make a decent number of lights. If you don’t care about stopping for reds, you can take it nice and slow (and probably average close to the the same overall speed).

    Still, great caution is always warranted and there is no excuse for not stopping in the unfortunate event that you hit someone who steps out in front of you at the last second.

  • Jesse

    Re: hit-and-run cyclist: it’s the design stupid! Double the sidewalk width, double the bike lane, protect it with bollards or grade separation, remove the parking lane, and set the green wave to bike speed. Now do this for all the avenues. Problem solved. It’s really that simple… 🙁

  • KillMoto

    Was the pedestrian wearing a helmet?

  • NYFM

    I’d be surprised if there are not more bike-pedestrian accidents with the segregated bike lanes. They create potential hazards where pedestrians do not expect them.

  • djx

    What speed is that? 12mph? 6mph? 3mph? What’s the speed limit for bikes on that street weekdays?

  • djx

    Word.

  • Joe R.

    The problem here is we’re not talking about maybe a block or two where it might be reasonable for a cyclist to slow down on the expectation there might be errant pedestrians. That’s pretty much normal when you ride in NYC. Rather, we’re talking about having to go stupidly slow for the duration of your trip in these death trap bike lanes, effectively rendering cycling pointless as a means of transportation. I thought these bike lanes were a stupid idea when they were built and I still do. I fully expected they would quick double as sidewalk extensions, making them 100% useless for their intended purpose much of the day. Let’s ask some experts from the Netherlands how they might handle a situation like this, then act on that suggestion, regardless of what it might cost.

    Manhattan streets are already too busy to safely, effectively accommodate pedestrians and motor vehicles. Throwing a third user into the mix is a recipe for disaster. I fully agree Manhattan should have a bike network, indeed needs one given the street conditions, but it most likely should like way different from what was actually built. There are situations were protected bike lanes are a great fit. The one along PPW is a great example. Basically, they fit well on streets where the adjacent sidewalk isn’t super busy, and the bike lane runs for long distances next to a natural barrier like a park or river or railway so that there are is crossing motor traffic. Bikes get protection from motor vehicles and few, if any traffic signals in such a situation. The protected bike lanes in Manhattan offer no such benefits. Even protection from motor vehicles is partial with the mixing zones every other block.

    In the end let’s build something better which works better for everyone.

  • Joe R.

    You have to do much more than that. Some ideas I have would involve bollarding off all minor side streets on the side of the street with the protected bike lane, and using overpasses on the major cross streets. This negates the need for any traffic signals on the bike lane although you still need yield to peds signs at crosswalks. And then you can do complete grade separation on viaducts. Or you can just keep the main bike routes where they can run continuously because they’re near natural barriers. That’s probably only along the East and Hudson Rivers.

    If we instead finally deciding to tackle the insane motor traffic levels in Manhattan jumping through all the hoops I mentioned to accommodate bicycles would hardly be needed but NYC seems to have no stomach for this. So we either are going to have to spend a huge sum to fit bikes in, or just not bother.

  • Joe R.

    I’m reading some of the comments to the article. It seems to me it’s not even a given that the cyclist hit her. She may have had a medical condition which cause here to fall while the bike was passing. Or the bike passing may have disoriented here and caused her to fall after it passed. To a casual onlooker it might look like the bike hit her in both these circumstances. The reason these explanations seem plausible is any hit hard enough to cause the damage mentioned probably would have knocked the cyclist over, perhaps also injured him and damaged the bike as well. The one and only time I hit a person while riding I recall the hit was a lot harder than I expected, even though it was a sideswipe and I was only going about 10 mph. In this instance I had actually slowed down because I was on a busy street with vehicles stopping for a ride blocking my view. I was filtering forward slowly, then suddenly person jaywalking in front of a stopped stop appears. They crossed my path before I hit them but not completely. The hit was a glancing blow on my right side. We were both OK. Neither of us fell but I did need to line one of my brakes back up. Anyway, the fact the cyclist was able to keep going, apparently with no damage or injuries, seems to give credence to those saying he may not have even hit the woman.

  • Guest

    I’m not prepared to jump to the conclusion the cyclist even hit the woman.

    The only indication that happened is the contention from the daughter, who clearly sounds like she didn’t actually see what happened, and a very short bit of video. Based on speed and riding position relative to the bike lane, the video appears to show a cyclists swerving around something off-camera. There is no apparent damage to the bike or injury to the cyclist that might indicate a collision. The injuries described are consistent with a fall, but don’t indicate impact from a bicycle.

    It’s entirely possible the old lady was surprised and tripped on the curb. Or had an unrelated seizure when the cyclist happened to be passing.

    We don’t know. But don’t let that get in the way of unprofessional reporting about killer bikes in the loose.

  • some guy

    Wellll, it’s possible to hit someone with a bike and knock them over but not fall yourself. I did it about 20 years ago in another city. The guy stepped off the curb in front of me, I knocked him over but kept it upright. I started stopping to see if he was OK and he started yelling how he was going to kick my a$$. Hit and run I guess – but he was both at fault and then really aggressive after the fact, so I didn’t feel bad about it.

    I also had a guy try to tackle me on my bike once (long story) but I stiff armed him and he fell, while I got away. Back in the day, as they say. Also not in NYC.

    It’s likely a person on a bike will fall if they knock someone over- which is part of the reason cyclists generally try hard not to hit people. But it’s not certain.

  • djx

    Yeah. Should be careful is fine. Being considered at fault for another adult not paying attention at all is another story.

    Same with cars. Cars shouldn’t buzz pedestrians or fly by close. If a pedestrian actually runs out from between cars mid-block (ACTUALLY – not just in NYPD-speak where basically every pedestrian who got hit did it) in front of a car going reasonable speed (25mph with few pedestrians around or slower if there are a bunch around) I won’t blame the driver.

  • BBnet3000

    just as we’d expect a driver to slow down

    We do? How fast does the average driver go on 1st Avenue anyway?

  • BBnet3000

    These lanes have increased safety for all users. Just because they aren’t perfect doesn’t make them the best solution. The sidewalks absolutely should be widened on most if not all of the avenues, AND they should still have protected bike lanes.

    I am not excluding bike boulevards but I don’t see those being useful for any of the Avenues any time soon. Definitely a strong possibility for many cross streets and perhaps a Brooklyn Avenue or two.

  • Kevin Love

    As others have written, there is a certain lack of evidence that the cyclist ever struck the pedestrian.

    Pedestrians have been known to fall down all on their own. Done that myself. 🙂

  • Joe R.

    The problem is the streets are too congested for the amount of users. I obviously don’t drive in Manhattan but I’ve walked there, and also ridden there a handful of times (not recently but in the 1980s). None of those activities is even remotely safe or efficient or pleasant given the amount of street users. And short of grade separation I’m not seeing how it can be. A good analogy is when a subway line reaches capacity. You might do a few tweaks here and there to make things slightly better, but in the end you’ll eventually face the prospect of needing a new line or another track if you want to make things significantly better. This is the issue we face in Manhattan. Obviously the best solution would be to ban private automobiles from the entire borough, perhaps even greatly curtial taxis. That would let us reconfigure the streets so everyone can get around safely and efficiently. We both know that’s not happening anytime soon, if ever.

    We can make minor tweaks as we have done but in the end you can’t fit a gallon of liquid into a one quart bottle. The streets as they exist just aren’t wide enough to accommodate the number of users they see. Remember here accommodate doesn’t just mean someone can get from point A to point B, eventually. That might be good enough in a Third World country but in a first world city for a bunch of reasons we also need reasonable travel speeds. We’re not getting those on the Manhattan Avenues for any user, nor will we get them no matter how things are reconfigured.

    Then you also have the tightly-spaced grid. Do we really need access points on cross streets for motor vehicles every 250 feet, or pedestrian crossings every 250 feet? That constrains what we can do even further.

    The bottom line here is back in the late 1800s when streets weren’t anywhere near as crowded as they are now some smart people who built the subways and els figured out you’re not getting any more room on the streets. If we want to get from point A to point B faster, we have to run above or below the streets. To me making the transportation network more three dimensional seems a natural extension for cities. We long ago went to three dimensions for office or residential space when we built skyscrapers. There are even analogs in nature. Animals live and get around at all levels of a forest, not just ground level. Why so many in the livable streets community constrain themselves philosophically to trying to put everything on one place boggles my mind. In the case we’re discussing, it doesn’t work, and can’t ever be made to work. The numbers are just against it.

    Bike boulevards? Might work if we remove all motor traffic, then give priority to bikes along the entire length. No stopping for bikes. Everyone else coming on cross streets must yield to bike traffic. Sadly, I’m not seeing any CB being conducive to the idea of banning non-essential motor vehicles altogether on one or more avenues.

  • BBnet3000

    The streets as they exist just aren’t wide enough to accommodate the number of users they see.

    This is where I think you are wrong. We have incredible wide streets in New York, and a huge portion of them are given over to autos making largely non-essential trips, despite having a small modeshare in the CBD.

    We do not need grade separation, we need to reduce motor traffic and give other modes more space. Other places are way ahead of us on this without building a ton of grade separation. I’m talking about cities of similar overall density to New York (though lower CBD density), such as Paris, London, Tokyo and Copenhagen.

    You don’t need to ban all auto traffic to have a workable bike boulevard, you only need to get rid of through traffic. Dutch neighborhood streets have cars and bikes mixed, as do successful bike boulevards in other US cities (New York’s obsession with separation at the exclusion of any other approach shows their ignorance of this).

    The current protected bike lanes work pretty well as far as speed is concerned. They should be wider to make passing easier, get rid of the mixing zones in the long term, and at least some locations should get a green wave, but really, they are not that slow as is today.

  • Joe R.

    Those other cities are a lot more restrictive of private autos than NYC. I know in Tokyo you can’t even own a car unless you have an off-street place to park it. London has congestion charges. Paris has gotten rid of a lot of auto parking. Sure, I absolutely agree on reducing motor traffic to give other modes more space. I just don’t see it happening here on any large scale with crybabies on community boards who moan when a bike project results in one lost parking spot. We’re fighting that, and we’re also fighting a lot of what Robert Moses did.

    Part of my idea here about repeatedly recommending grade separation is four fold. One main advantage is when you build out something in steel and concrete is becomes really difficult for some later administration to just take it away. On the other hand, bike infrastructure demarcated only by paint can disappear just by letting the paint fade. Second, you’re future proofing the bike network against future massive population increases. Even if we reduce non-essential motor traffic, in a decade pedestrian volumes might easily fill the void and you’re back to square one. And then you also have the speed potential of velomobiles. 40 mph velomobiles just won’t work at street level. They’ll need totally separate infrastructure if they are to be used to their full potential. Three, unless you get rid of nearly all motor traffic and all the traffic signals, riding at street level just isn’t as pleasant as riding on something separate. Four, you have generally poor street conditions due to heavy vehicles beating up pavement. You can avoid that with a purpose built bike viaduct which only sees bike traffic. Build it well once and it’ll be good for a few hundred years.

    In the outer boroughs might be where I think there’s more potential for at grade bike infrastructure. Here you might only need a 50% reduction in motor traffic to allow getting rid of most traffic signals. Use the freed up space for bikes only, rebuild the street to address the pavement condition, and you’re done. That’ll get more people riding, which in turn will reduce motor traffic even more. You may still need grade separation in places like Queens or Northern Boulevard but it’ll be the exception. Or you might even take a lane on expressways for bikes only, putting in separate entrance/exit ramps as needed. My overall point here though is why do so many here totally dismiss the idea of grade separation? In the end it’s a tool. We do it for cars so why shouldn’t we also do it for bikes? It may turn out we only need to grade separate a few percent of the bike network but that few percent might end up being key trunk routes which carry 10% or 20% of the riders. When you look at it that way it makes a lot more sense.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    No I couldn’t tell you who this is or what restaurant he works for, however, his bike and the way he is dressed indicates he’s a delivery person. The reflective vests are often not worn or provided especially if these guys are working multiple restaurants. But what I can tell from the video and it isn’t very clear, there is a very strong chance this guy is a delivering for one of the restaurants.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    The enhanced pics that came out in the Post shows that the bike appears, from what I can see, an eBike.

  • Andres Dee

    I just witnessed the most amazing scene along the 1st Avenue “protected bike lane”, mere blocks from Mary Grace Belfi was allegedly knocked down by a cyclist: A group of older women are standing at the curb. One of them has a small dog on a leash. The dog is pooping in the active bike lane, with the woman standing with her friends as if it’s no big deal. The women had started to walk away from the scene (“It’s not like I can pick up after the dog. I might get hit by one of them bicyclers.”) I stopped a few yards ahead and booted up my phone st snap their picture. One of the woman’s friends noticed and gestured at me and handed her friend a plastic bag. A stood by until the woman picked up her crap and dropped it in the trash while giving me a dirty look.