Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Manhattan Bridge

Horrific Crash on Manhattan Bridge Bike Path Underscores Moped Crisis

Illegal and legal mopeds are forbidden yet are increasingly common on the span as delivery workers shift to faster vehicles to make their meager living.

9:28 AM EDT on July 27, 2023

Liam Quigley|

The blood stain and debris is all that remained of the crash early on Thursday.

Editor's note: This story contains graphic photos. Streetsblog is publishing them because the political elite of this city has become numb to the violence its inaction has enabled, and we find that only graphic photos have the power to shock the establishment into action.

The drivers of multiple motorized vehicles were involved in a serious crash on Wednesday night on the Manhattan Bridge bike path—where both illegal and legal mopeds are forbidden yet are increasingly common, as delivery workers shift to faster vehicles to make their meager living.

According to witnesses, four or five moped and bicyclists were involved in the crash at around 11:30 p.m.

"The worst injury was a young, probably delivery, guy with several open [wounds] in both legs," posted one witness on Reddit. The witness believed the most seriously wounded man was "definitely bleeding out," but was saved by another cyclist "who used her sweatshirt to put pressure on the open wound."

Allegra, 37, told Streetsblog on Thursday morning that she came upon the chaos moments after the crash happened.

"It was a big scooter, an electric scooter," Allegra said, describing the crash scene, adding that a Latino man "looked really badly injured."

"And there was a huge pool of blood flowing from him," Allegra said.

According to the Fire Department's press office, medics responded to a "collision involving electric scooters," and transported four patients to Bellevue and NYU Langone. No other updates on the patients' conditions were available.

Among the debris found on Thursday morning was a helmet typically given out for free by the city, with the name "Juan" written on it.

The crash is the latest involving high-speed motorized vehicles on city bridge paths, which have become dangerous not only because of the speed and volume of the mopeds, but also the narrow width of two-way cycle routes on such spans at the Manhattan and Queensboro bridges. On the latter bridge, two-way cyclists share space with pedestrians in both directions, too.

Another witness on Reddit said the Manhattan Bridge crash "clearly took place at high speed."

Blood stained the Manhattan Bridge bike path in the minutes after the crash. Photo: Lucas F.

The witness described the victim as "bleeding heavily [and] going in and out of consciousness."

"There were mangled, broken moped pieces everywhere," the witness said. "Another guy had an obviously broken arm. ... The only bicyclist involved was sitting against the fence with blood on their face and both hands. They were sitting next to a bent up orange bike."

The witness, who said he or she works in an emergency room added that they have not seen "that much blood outside of a body, nor in a hospital, in a long time."

And the witness drew a larger conclusion from the crash that more and more cyclists are being forced to consider: "I don't even know if I should even ride my bike on the bridge anymore" because of the conflicts with high-speed mopeds.

Such comments are increasingly common. And the Reddit thread continued a lively debate that more and more cyclists are having.

"It's time to take action," posted one bike rider. "Illegal mopeds are not a value add to this city. It's not like a bad apples thing. They are consistently traveling too fast in bike lanes and making unsafe passes. ... Stop ordering Seamless/GrubHub. ... Report moped shops to 311. It may be time to start disabling illegal mopeds ourselves."

Delivery workers repeatedly say that they choose the bike paths because driving their mopeds in the car lanes of the bridge and other roadways is dangerous for them as they rush to serve wealthier delivery customers, on whose tips they depend. App companies such as GrubHub and Seamless treat the workers as "independent contractors" and therefore do not regulate their mode or methods of travel.

The City Council has sought to reform the way delivery workers get their assignments so that they don't have to travel long distances to make a living.

The concerns about safety are growing, but the larger danger to pedestrians remains cars and trucks.

According to the NYPD's crash statistics, there were 44,754 reported crashes between January 1 and June 23. Of those, 43,188 — or 96 percent — were caused by drivers of cars, SUVs, trucks, ambulances, vans and other heavy motorized vehicles. Just 826 crashes — or 1.8 percent — were caused by the operators of e-bikes, e-scooters, mopeds or motorbikes, according to the police. Another 740 crashes — or 1.6 percent — were caused by regular bike riders, the cops said.

Drilling down further, there have been 3,952 crashes that caused injuries to at least one pedestrian. Of those crashes, 3,784 — or 96 percent again — were caused by car and truck drivers. Only 168 — or 4.2 percent — were caused by the operators of e-bikes, e-scooters, mopeds or motorbikes, according to the police.

NYPD enforcement has been lax and often at cross purposes. Cops stationed on the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge do not even warn moped riders that they are breaking the law by riding on the bike path.

Mohammed, who has been doing construction work on the Manhattan Bridge, told Streetsblog that the larger electric and gas-powered scooters make him feel unsafe.

"They don't want to stop. We're always watching our backs," he said. "They never slow down. Too much fucking flying scooters."

The NYPD did not provide preliminary information. This is a breaking story and will be updated soon.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Wednesday’s Headlines: Cycle of Rage Edition

Tuesday was a busy morning on the "criminal mischief" beat. Plus other news.

February 28, 2024

Parking or Parkland? Brooklyn Judges Could Lose their Perk

Columbus Park should live up to its name, not parking, one lawmaker said.

February 28, 2024

Divorce NY Style: The Council and DOT Have Moved to Splitsville

It's the battle of who could care less — and safety is losing.

February 28, 2024

Cyclist Killed After Being Doored Into Traffic on Unsafe Brooklyn Street in Already Violent Year

Broadway's danger is well known to DOT, which named it a Vision Zero Priority Corridor — yet the agency did nothing.

February 27, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Once and Forever, Congestion Pricing is a Good Thing Edition

Entitled Manhattanites who oppose the central business district toll are the most misguided, it turns out. Plus other news.

February 27, 2024
See all posts