Thursday’s Headlines: Bikelash Approacheth Edition

We were very sorry to hear that a 4-year-old was reportedly hit by a cyclist in Riverside Park on Monday.

The West Side Rag suggested that cyclists are a rogue element in Riverside Park, but the website also revealed that there have been only two prior reported crashes in the 20th Precinct portion of the park since 2017. Let’s put that in context: Since 2017, on just the two avenues directly adjacent to the park, there have been more than 600 crashes involving cars reported to the 20th Precinct, city statistics show. Those crashes injured 24 cyclists and 33 pedestrians.

That said, cyclists have a responsibility to ride safely. Please do so. (CBS2 also covered, but cited very different statistics than the Rag. Streetsblog has been requesting bike-on-pedestrian crash reports from NYPD for months.)

The good news? The city is planning better infrastructure to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.

In other news:

  • The Times’ Michael Kimmelman continues his hot streak by following Streetsblog in suggesting it’s time to consider tearing down the BQE.
  • Several outlets covered a $110-million jury award to a man who was paralyzed when a railroad tie fell on him from the elevated J train in 2016. But the Post and Patch failed to mention a key piece of context: The MTA should have been so chastened by the grievous injuries it caused cyclist Robert Liciaga that it fixed the problem. Alas, dangerous debris has rained down from the 7 train several times this year.
  • City Journal was the latest to condemn congestion pricing exemptions.
  • Cops say they arrested the woman caught on camera running down a 14-year-old girl and then cruelly fleeing. (ABC7)
  • In case you missed it, Staten Island residents have been testing the new OMNY fare-payment system — but the video in this Staten Island Advance story suggest that it is going to be far too slow for New Yorkers! Meanwhile, Vin Barone, the soft-spoken humanist of amNY, will do a Reddit AMA today at 2 about the demise of the Metrocard. (Question 1: “Are you wearing flannel right now?”)
  • Gotham Gazette covered the City Council’s response to Mayor de Blasio’s budget.
  • A group of transit workers says the Cuomo L-train fix will be unsafe. (NY Post, amNY)
  • Also, in case you missed it, Politico’s Dana Rubinstein had a subscriber-only scoop about the coming consultant-led MTA restructuring that might lead to layoffs.
  • And, finally, the Daily News did a photo gallery on the old City Hall subway station.
  • Reader

    One thing that would help ease the crunch on the West Side Greenway and hopefully minimize conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists is to create a protected bikeway on the west side of Riverside Drive. It would work well since it’s mostly continuous and there is no cross traffic except for at major entries to the Henry Hudson Parkway. Lots of sports cyclists just want a fast way to get up to the GW Bridge, so I bet they’d prefer to be on a dedicated bike lane instead of on a narrow greenway sharing space with joggers, walkers, and others.

    Of course, that would mean losing some parking but if Mayor de Blasio, Helen Rosenthal and other electeds truly valued kids’ safety that wouldn’t stand in the way.

  • AMH

    Riverside also doesn’t need to be four lanes wide in places.

  • Joe R.

    Almost no cyclists want to share space with pedestrians. “Shared” bike/walking paths were all in vogue in the 1950s when planners thought a bicycle was just a slightly faster pedestrian. Now we realize unless the volumes of cyclists and pedestrians are very low, shared paths can’t work. Separate paths are the best solution anywhere in this crowded city.

    As for the four-year who got hit, I’m glad she wasn’t seriously hurt, and this isn’t something I can blame her or the cyclist for. Young children tend to run out in front of bikes, and there’s often no speed slow enough that can prevent a collision. However, I do blame the parents for not keeping a closer eye on her. They should be glad she ran out in front of a bike instead of a car, or they might be planning her funeral now.

  • KeNYC2030

    There will be huge compliance issues with the planned detour, which cyclists will be forced to use within the next couple of months. Generally, cyclists will opt for the flattest and most direct route. The detour is anything but flat and takes you a few minutes out of the way. It should be reserved for warmer months, and mainly on weekends when users flock to the riverfront path. For other times, the Parks Department needs to do something — anything — to separate users on the existing path.

  • I joke around about knocking people over with my Univega but the reality is that I have never even come close to colliding with someone. When I say I want to knock someone over on bike, that’s just my colorful way of saying that I think they are a dick.

  • MatthewEH

    I thought the new greenway routing was on indefinite hold until the rotunda project is sorted out?

  • KeNYC2030

    The current plan is to re-route cyclists until the Rotunda construction starts, which may happen late this year or early next. Then the detour would be on hold for at least three years and cyclists would be back along the waterfront. Makes sense, right?

  • MatthewEH

    My only remotely serious greenway crash happened at around 41st street. I was slowing for a light that had been red, then turned to green. I picked up some speed to pass a rider to my 1 o’clock (who was holding a cellphone to his ear and talking on it while riding.) The greenway takes a slight rightward turn right there; I followed the path, he kept going straight, effectively veering right-to-left into me.

    Unfortunately, a third rider chose the moment this was all setting up to pass me two-up to the left, so I couldn’t veer to the left to avoid phone guy (not without precipitating a different crash). The best I could do was shout “on your left.” The phone-guy crashed into the rear part of my bike and fell over. He took a moment to collect himself, but apparently was unhurt.

    I wasn’t riding aggressively by any normal understanding of the word, at all. It was a bit of a perfect storm of stupidity on everyone else’s part. It can still happen sometimes.