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Eyes On The Street: Westside Greenway Bollards Still Causing Injuries And Mayhem To Cyclists They Are Supposed to Protect

9:58 PM EDT on August 12, 2018

Another cyclist was injured on the Hudson River Greenway on Sunday because the security bollards are too close together. Photo: Ken Coughlin

Meet another victim of the new math on the Hudson River Greenway.

On a busy Sunday on North America's busiest bike and pedestrian path, a cyclist was injured in a crash caused by the metal anti-terrorism bollards that state officials started installing earlier this summer. At the time, Streetsblog pointed out the frightful statistics of the barriers:

"They’re just 48 inches apart — only enough room for one cyclist at a time to squeeze through. At peak hours, that’s certain to jam up the busiest bikeway in the nation and create dangerous conflicts."

We don't have all the details about the 3.40 p.m. crash today — our photographer Ken Coughlin came upon the scene near 38th Street after the cyclist either hit the bollards or was hit by another cyclist or pedestrian trying to get out of the way of them.

"The guy was in evident pain and was unable to get up during the 30 seconds or so I was there," Coughlin said. "For me, the new bollards add anxiety and uncertainty to a ride down the greenway. At some point I may be that guy."

The steel bollards replace temporary cement Jersey barriers that the Cuomo administration installed after a madman intentionally drove a rented truck onto the greenway last October 31 and killed eight.

There was no input from bike advocates regarding the design or placement of the temporary or the new-and-not-really-improved security measures. TransAlt condemned the initial temporary barriers immediately last year, and the group has continued to advocate for security that protects cyclists rather than endangers them.

In May, the group told Cuomo that there should be fewer bollards and they should be at least 60 inches apart — still narrow enough to stop a car, but wide enough for cyclists to pass safely. Sixty inches would put the bollards in compliance with American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials standards for shared-use paths.

“It’s possible to protect greenway users from all manner of vehicle incursions while at the same time not creating a new safety hazard,” TransAlt Executive Director Paul Steely White said at the time. “It’s not a matter of if people will be injured on these, it’s when.”

Sunday was another of those "whens."

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