Saturday, June 24, 2006

Watch out on West Side Highway, Bike Path

Its nice to have your own bicycle greenway that takes you up and down the Westside of Manhattan, if your into that sort of thing. There are obstacles, like dumb struck tourists gawking at the Intrept museum and now NYPD tow trucks that are in a real hurry to get your vehicle to the lot and back out there to make more cash. Who's got time to yeild to bicyclists, even if it is the law and that bike path is designed for safe travel...right?!

an article from NY1 about a cyclist injured on the Greenway Thursday, June 22nd at 11:30pm

Cyclist In Critical Condition After Colliding With Tow Truck
A 56-year-old man is fighting for his life after being struck by an NYPD tow truck while riding his bicycle on the West Side Highway bike path at around 11:30 Thursday night.

The tow truck was headed southbound and making a right turn into the Pier 76 pound facility with a vehicle in tow when it struck the cyclist, who was heading northbound with a companion on the bike path near 12th Avenue.

According to standard procedure, the tow truck driver was given a breathalyzer. No arrests were made and no tickets were issued.

However, the incident does raise some critical questions, including why the driver wasn't issued a ticket for failure to yield the right of way. Drivers in the area have to pass a big sign saying they have to yield to cyclists, and even if the cyclist had a red light, the tow truck in this case would have also had a red light.

Cyclists along the path say they have become accustomed to being constantly on the lookout.

“I’ve been using this path for years riding from 86th down,” said bicyclist Ruth Spencer. “Now that there’s two accidents in my building and now this, I’ll be even more careful.”

While NY1 reporter Gary Anthony Ramsay was conducting an interview with one cyclist, another cyclist off camera was hit by a car making a right turn into the piers. The cyclist was unharmed, other than some cuts and bruises, but he stood up after the incident and shouted to the driver that he had the right of way.

“It happens a lot,” said the cyclist Paul Barenholz. “People don’t respect the right of way, they don’t watch when they’re turning here. I just got back from Denmark. They respect bicyclists there, they respect lanes, people look to the right when they make a right turn. All the automobiles do it.”

While the NYPD has been unable to completely resolve the circumstances of Thursday night's incident, it does appear to highlight what has become a dangerous intersection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I take the Greenway pretty much every day and it's not much safer than the street. Once you get above 96th St., it becomes a lot safer. Except for the broken glass.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is we're made to believe that this is a bikeway and it's anything but. Same for the so-called bicycle lanes. When you get past that misconception you'll be okay. Autos rule in America, and that means they can go virtually everywhere from mini-malls to greenways unimpeded with zero enforcement. We need to advocate for dedicated bike lanes that have strict rules about being encroached upon by peds and motorheads, and enforced.

The current bikeway is really a tourist attraction, with Waterway ferries, cabs, continual construction, and other obstacles. Those who want to go fast without a lot of confusion should petition DOT to take a lane from West Street, and only then will we be able to go with the flow.

Good luck too!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous eva said...

I agree: the very presence of a bike lane makes one feel safer - wrong! The sad part is that according to amNY the West Side Highway bicyclist died. Meanwhile, another bicyclist was killed by a truck on Houston.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Hassan said...

I started cycling just recently, and I can already tell what problems most of us cyclists' go through. It's a shame that those automobiles can't follow a simply rule: not to ram into a bike path. Though, I don't think NY will ever do anything about it. Automobiles don't really care since they don't get hurt, and the gov. probably won't waste any money on us either. Not surprising I guess.

10:03 PM  
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10:34 AM  

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