cover crash

A driver whose brakes had failed swerved into the Amsterdam Avenue bike lane and hit a delivery bicyclist on Tuesday night, sending the bicyclist to the hospital.

The crash occurred around 7:05 p.m. on Amsterdam near 83rd Street, according to an FDNY spokesman. The bicyclist was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital.

Jeff French Segall, who shot the photos above and below, spoke to witnesses who saw the car “barreling uptown in the bike lane” with a damaged front tire. Segall said the bicyclist was “not seriously injured.”

Segall spoke to the driver, who lives on 110th Street. The driver said his brakes failed and he drove for about 10 blocks with the car in Neutral, but he didn’t pull up on his emergency brake, Segall said. His car struck the curb, damaging the left front tire and fender. Segall wrote:

When I asked the driver if he had applied his emergency brake, his reply was, “I didn’t even think of it. Would it have worked if all the brakes had already failed?”  I explained to him that emergency brakes work off an entirely different system, and that there was probably a mechanical linkage, not tied into the electronic or master cylinder systems, that would have applied the brakes.

Amsterdam Avenue just recently got a bike lane and other changes like pedestrian islands meant to enhance pedestrian safety. The protected bike lane is separated from traffic primarily by parked cars (as opposed to some other barrier), so in some areas cars can still swerve into the lane.

NEWS | 71 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      was just a matter of time

    2. Eli says:

      I’ve seen several videos of reckless motorists using protected bike lanes as “express lanes” all around the city. But NYPD enforcement is laughably inadequate. It was an adult able to make evasive maneuvers to mitigate it this time; but is NYPD waiting for children to get mowed down before they tackle reckless motorists seriously?

      • Josh says:

        It is usually NYPD – I’ve seen them do it a dozen times since the lane was installed as they were going to pick up lunch/dinner. This is not including actual emergency driving which I fully support…

    3. Ctp says:

      This seems like as good a time as any to repeat the story of me seeing a car driving in the bike lane on Columbus and 87th street going the wrong direction (she had turned right off of 86th into the bike lane and continued on running a red light in the process) just a few months ago. It seems a huge design flaw that cars are still able to fit into the bike lane. Even with signage and pedestrian islands drivers do not think about walkers or bikers or even which way to street runs and safety is not a given even when they exist.

      • JDP says:

        There are some barriers (usually at the corner), but its a huge $ effort on the community to barricade the whole lane. Also it impacts emergency vehicles to access the curb when necessary.

    4. Gretchen says:

      While there are bad drivers, there are just as many reckless bikers, especially delivery men, who pretty much ignore traffic rules. I have been nearly hit by them (including on the sidewalk) more times than I can count in recent years. I also have friends who have been hit by bikers and police do nothing. Also, many, if not most of those delivery bikes, still have the illegal electrical bikes, which the police don’t seem to enforce — so more accidents waiting to happen. Bike lanes are basically a bad joke in this town.

      • geoff says:


        i’m happy to read you have never been hit by a cyclist. me neither. actually i was once hit by a texting pedestrian, but we’re not talking about pedestrians here, are we?

        as for cars, i have been it by a car. luckily, i was in another car but that foolish driver who confessed to not paying attention, slammed so hard into the rear of my car that my insurance company wrote off my car (and hers). their only value was as scrap metal. it happened in less than 2 seconds. i was in physical therapy for eight weeks.

        i have observed too, and i don’t think that MOST delivery bikes are electric, as you say. Some are, but Most aren’t. take a second look and maybe you will agree. or, do a count and correct em if i’m wrong.

      • Steve says:

        So are you saying it’s the bicyclists fault? Do you ask what the female rape victims were wearing? It’s not the victim’s fault. Here it sounds like it might not be anyone’s fault – just bad luck. There are plenty of people who don’t think the rules apply to them – bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and others. What we need a clearer rules and enforcement so we can all be safe, not victim blaming. It’s offensive!

        • LMN says:

          When a bicyclist is on the sidewalk, or running a red light… yes, it is their fault. As a pedestrian, yes there are many times I will walk across the street before I have the walk sign, but do you know what I do? First I stop at the curb and look for traffic. In fact, I look both ways, even on a one way street, because I know many bicyclists also ignore the fact that they are supposed to follow the rules of traffic and go in the direction of traffic. And then, if all is clear of cars and bikes, I go. On the other hand, bicyclists, especially delivery ones, often fly right through the red lights with total disregard to pedestrians having the right away. At least pause, let the walkers walk, and then run the red light.

          • Margaret says:

            LMN, I’m a little confused how that relates to this man’s hospitalization since he was biking in the bike lane when a driver hit him. But anyway, if you google “NYPD collision reports”, you can track the monthly frequency and causes of local injury and fatalities.

            For example, in June, Manhattan had 7 pedestrians, one cyclist, and one passenger killed. Of those 9 deaths, 3 happened in the 20th precinct. Two pedestrians and the passenger.

            In the 20, where 41 people were injured and 3 people killed, these were the top five attributed causes.

            – driver inattention
            – following too closely
            – passing too closely
            – passing or improper lane use
            – backing unsafely

            There are ~20 different things they could tick, and those five covered 78% of the injury-causing crashes. “Bike/pedestrian error” was listed as a cause for exactly zero of 27 injury or fatality causing crashes.

            I think it’s helpful to look these up. We have dangerous streets and June was especially, horribly deadly. It shouldn’t be controversial to rely on facts and data and to follow the truth wherever it leads.

            • dannyboy says:

              “It shouldn’t be controversial to rely on facts and data and to follow the truth wherever it leads.” Margaret

              Manhattan had 7 pedestrians, one cyclist, and one passenger killed.

              used to be a Walking City.

      • Margaret says:

        Gretchen, could you please give some thought to expressing some empathy for the person who was struck in the bike lane? A driver didn’t “nearly hit” him, he ACTUALLY hit him, in the bike lane.

    5. Sean says:

      I saw a car with New Jersey plates drive over a barrier to make a turn.

    6. Cato says:

      “…he drove for about 10 blocks with the car in Neutral…”

      Am I missing something here? Momentum and no brakes is one thing and might carry the car a block or two, but ten blocks in neutral?

      • dannyboy says:

        NOT accidental!

      • Jay says:

        He drove for ten blocks without brakes in the bike lane and didn’t think to pull the emergency brake… Story doesn’t add up.

      • nevomusic says:

        what idiot decided to put in bike lanes? it created traffic jams, delivery trucks turns avenues into one lane streets and what about more polution?

        • Guest says:

          These bicycle lanes actually improved the flow of traffic on Amsterdam because turning drivers have their own lanes. The overall lane reduction and narrowing doesn’t create the congestion on this street (it only slows traffic), it’s the double parked drivers, deliveries and drivers that quickly accelerate, break and erratically change lanes causing the hold up. Nothing new.

          • dannyboy says:

            “drivers that quickly accelerate, break and erratically change lanes causing the hold up.”

            “Nothing new.”
            I do believe that more drivers now exhibit an impatience that causes these symptons. This frenetic behavior IS newish. Frantic is the new norm, and these are the results.

            • Josh says:

              No, this is how taxi drivers have always driven in recent memory, ever since the taxi companies moved away from hiring drivers and instead moved to the leasing system. I avoid taxis as much as possible because this form of driving gives me motion sickness.

      • the_the says:

        Seriously. A car is not going to roll in neutral for more than a couple hundred feet.

        If he found some way to get his car to roll for over a half mile on a mostly flat stretch of road, he should file for some kind of patent.

      • Margaret says:

        Up a hill, past the NYPD’s street at 82nd, and sounds like he entered the bike lane close to where it starts at 72nd.

        Thank goodness the cyclist wasn’t seriously injured. Hopefully he collects big from this driver’s insurance company.

        What on earth is a driver like this thinking?! I can’t control my 2-ton steel vehicle, so I’ll just steer it into a bike lane where I can hit a person instead of a fixed object? What if it was someone’s kid who ended up being the object the driver used as a stop?

    7. AC says:

      DOS Sanitation trucks use the Amsterdam bike lane as their private lane during collection. Once they cause an accident, our tax paying money will pay the medical bills and assist in the settlement.

      ALL vehicles, unless in the case of an emergency, should be prohibited from using these lanes.

      • Zulu says:

        I hit the Enter key prematurely….

        As I was saying, as a regular user of the lanes I’m ok with the garbage truck using the bike lane for garbage collection. The alternative is to have the men cross the bike lane back and forth putting themselves and bicyclists in danger. In addition, it’s not really fare to expect these guys to drag the garbage bags from the curb past the bike lane and past the parked cars.

        When approaching the trucks just slow down and merge onto the adjacent driving lane to pass the truck. I usually do this on the intersection right before where the truck is, so I don’t have to leave the bike lane from in between parked cars.

        Just my $.02.

        • dannyboy says:

          Zulu, you’d make a great biking teacher. I recently was introduced to Porche’s diriving school, where they teach techniques for SAFETY.

          Go for it!

          • Zulu says:

            I believe REI has a few of those classes per year and Transportation Alternatives may even do it free of charge, which is very nice.

            But thank you for the vote of confidence.

        • Josh says:

          NYC DoS garbage trucks legally are allowed to use the bike lanes. They are the only non-emergency motor vehicles with this legal exemption.

    8. geoff says:

      every car has an emergency brake. is it not a violation of some ordnance to not use it in an emergency situation? imagine if life had been lost when using the emergency brake would have prevented such loss. isn’t a qualified driver required to know that there is a second, back-up braking option? it’s a basic driving skill that almost every driver knows. those who don’t really should take a course. there are probably lots of other things you don’t know.

    9. Lucien says:

      His breaks failed? Why would he continue going for 10 blocks? Why not throw the car in reverse? turn and skid?

      Or the obvious: continuously honk on the horn and yell that your car doesn’t have breaks and everyone get out of the way. I truly hope the NYPD didn’t buy this story.

      The truth is more likely the driver was speeding and lost control of the car and went into the curb. Put his car into neutral and lied to the police.

    10. oscar says:

      What idiot decided to put in bike lanes? Who is using it? Delivery guys and bunch of wanna be Europeans. This is not Holland! You have created traffic jams when delivery trucks turn avenues into one lane streets and made more polution than ever before. I can’t wait for first snow. We will see how that wonderful idea works. Morons!

      • Sean says:

        Ok. Next thing you know there will be lawn furniture out there for the tourists to sit on.

        • dannyboy says:

          Just passed construction cres installing 3 barricade in the upper 90s. Of course, an SUV was backing up through the bike lane to turn at the southern block, rather than drive around the corner. And, oh yeah, another guy was taping down a promotional poster IN THE BIKE LANE.

          This is not “Sharing the Road”, this is chaos.

      • Geo says:

        I agree 1,000,000%

      • rk says:

        Oh give it up already. You lost, change won. The bike lanes are here, citibike is here, and the biking infrastructure is only going to keep growing.

      • Jim says:

        You lost, we won, so stop complaining and get on a bike. You might like it.

        • dannyboy says:


      • Jeff French Segall says:

        Oscar, I’m with you 1,000%. I tried to testify at the open CB meeting and wanted to advance exactly your arguments against the lanes, but there were so many there, that they kept at least 100 of us outside. I felt that the Board’s “mind” was made up ahead of time and that nothing anyone might say would change their minds.
        By the way, if you read the fine print at the bike kiosks, you’ll see in the last paragraph the advisory that if you fail to return your rented bike, you will be fined $1200! That’s not a typo. In other words there’s money to be made for the city through this program. I’m wondering how the city plans to spend it.

        • dannyboy says:

          …and you expected representative government?

          and are surprised that these’s money in it?

        • Josh says:

          The $1200 is to cover the cost of replacing the bike. Did you think that, as a member, you could just check out a bike and keep it for good? If you borrow a library book and don’t return it, guess what: they bill you to replace it! And of course there is money to be made. They charge a membership fee and it is a for-profit corporation. Seriously, buddy, I think you gotta tap into common sense here.

      • Sean says:

        Felix Unger would use the bike lane.

    11. lou says:

      Nobody uses lanes on Columbus…and on Amsterdam I notice this phenomenon….mostly everyone (not many)I see in lane is going south or biking on the east side of street

    12. Margareta says:

      My route almost every day, go down Columbus do errands and gym visits then take the uptown route on Amsterdam, stopping for time at the Library (St Agnes). So enjoy and appreciate this circular bike path. Yes there are problems but with time and effort the neighborhood and population will benefit.

    13. Dan says:

      This car sped past me as I was walking down Amsterdam around 83rd street, before it crashed. It was flying up (yes, uphill) the street, there was no way it was in neutral, I’m sorry. Everyone ran onto the road thinking what a freaking maniac, thank god he didn’t kill anyone

      • dannyboy says:

        Thanks for the eyewitness report.

        Dan, you ARE The Man.
        I need to promote boyishness, at my age

    14. B.B. says:

      Someone injured on Amsterdam and 83rd is taken all the way over to Lenox Hill hospital on 77th and Lexington?

      • dannyboy says:

        car traffic

      • lynn says:

        Do people have an option when they’re picked up by ambulance (after an accident)? Years ago I was on skates, hit by a cyclist, in Central Park around 85th and 5th and we were both taken down to Roosevelt Hospital.

        • Josh says:

          If you are lucid, you are allowed to request a hospital, with in reason. The crew will evaluate your request and comply if it is reasonable. But ambulance dispatchers are keyed into how busy each ER is, as well as which ones are best suited to the type of injury. ERs are are catagorized by what they can handle, with the top being a Level 1 Trauma Center, which means they can handle anything. Even though Belleview always gets the bad rap as the indigent hospital, it is the only state certified Level 1 Trauma Center in Manhattan. Although NYU is supposed to be added, to my understanding.

          • B.B. says:

            Ever since North Shore-Long Island Jewish (now called Northwell or whatever) purchased Lenox Hill hospital the place has changed.

            While once perhaps considered an UES hospital, LH now seems to have a much broader patient reach. It certainly seems much busier around the place in the past few years.

            Went with a friend to LH’s ER last year and it was full. Asked one of the nurses about it and she said they now get patients from all over Manhattan.

            Do know late evening/overnight there is often a steady progression of one or more ambulances making their way uptown via Park, Third or Madison avenues. The first two are going to Lenox Hill, with the remaining to Mount Sinai.

            Also know from friends who are nurses at LH depending upon the triage situation persons who need to be admitted to hospital from Lenox Hill’s West Village urgent care center (that replaced Saint Vincent’s) either go up to LH on the UES, Bellevue, Beth Israel or NYU. Beth Israel will be closing soon so that leaves just the other two choices for severe emergencies.

    15. Justgothere says:

      Welcome to the north bound traffic jam called Amsterdam…looks just like the south bound traffic jam called Columbus…darn good thing barista at Malecon is fast…keep drinking the kool-ade people

    16. William R says:

      Like it or not the bike lanes are here to stay and they are the future of a large chunk of our transportation matrix, although the timing is debatable. We have managed to put in the bike lanes but we have not managed to secure a plan for getting people out of their cars and into the bike lanes and subways. Most (all but possible Portland, OR) major US cities have nowhere near our world class mass transit system. Bike lanes don’t represent a choice to the commuters in these cities, they represent an opportunity to not only save $ but even to save time, all while staying in shape. We need to slowly but surely make owning an individual automobile less attractive than it already is. On the very distant horizon, we may someday even reclaim one whole side of street now occupied by parked cars. There’s a large quality of life boost as well to not be choked with smog morning noon and night. 500k people driving into downtown daily in personal cars. That’s not very sensible if we mean to make the kinds of progress necessary imminently to curb our greenhouse emissions. Not to mention the traffic really hurts the elderly and disabled who are restricted to the buses that spend all day stuck in traffic. If you’re stubborn and own a car, I’d suggest you speak to a disabled person relegated to the bus about how traffic impacts their ability to get around and I’m sure you’ll figure out quite quickly how driving a car in this city for personal use hurts our most vulnerable citizens daily quality of life.

      • B.B. says:

        Could you please come down off that cross? We need the wood….

        While bike lanes/riding does offer some benefits to both riders and the City, leave us not make out it is the prefect solution for everyone.

        Plenty of elderly, disabled, children and even able bodied have suffered injuries (sometimes fatal) after being struck by a bike. That poor woman in Central Park a year or so ago is but one example.

        Yes, I’ll ride my bike for certain errands/get somewhere, however other times will drive.

        The number of passengers and or types of goods that can be delivered by bike is limited. Weather conditions and distance between points (and back) also play a factor.

        Finally am sure bikers would receive a bit less resistance if they obeyed the traffic laws like everyone else. Riding on sidewalks, going the opposite way on one way streets/avenues, riding in middle of traffic where a lane as been specifically carved out for bikers, failing to stop at red lights/signs, failing to yield to pedestrians…

      • caitlin says:

        I don’t know how to drive (native New Yorker)- walk and use bus, subway.

        Does not seem right to me that bus routes and service (particularly since 2010) have been reduced and bus/subway fares increased – while at the same time, an expansion of bicycling infrastructure.

        Traffic has increased in Manhattan not because of personal cars but because of increased development; increased commercial vehicles including construction and building service vehicles; explosion of ecommerce and instant gratification delivery; and Uber.
        There would be a reduction in traffic if people walked to stores instead of getting deliveries.

        Because of the cost of housing, low income residents are pushed out, with longer commute sto work. Increasingly, NYC cycling is beneficial to the affluent who are more likely to live close to work. Also people with physically taxing and low wage jobs, such as nursing home workers or fast food workers are unlikely to find cycling to be a good commute.

        And while I do not favor cars particularly, there are people who need cars for work, from maintenance workers who carpool in to musicians who work all over the tri-state area.

        And sadly, NYC cyclists seem egregious in their disregard for pedestrians and lights. My family, kids included, have had many near misses with cyclists.

        • Jay says:

          There are a few facts you don’t seem to be aware of.

          First, Citibike doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. It’s all self-funded. It does not take money from public transportation funds.

          Second, traffic in Manhattan and New York City, in general, is down. Congestion is down as well.

          I think you are not seeing what you don’t want to see. Lots of people use bike-sharing; people in suits, people who are wearing uniforms, and people of all kinds. I see them every day riding Citibike on the Upper West Side and around where I work. Now that there are more stations, hopefully you will start to look and see what others are seeing.

          • Josh says:

            Further, she is missing the division between city DOT and state MTA. The state, and governor Cuomo, control the buses and the routes and the fares. The city barely has an advisory role in all of that. The city controls the design and construction of bike infrastructure, such as bike lanes, but the projects are primarily funded through grants from the federal DOT. And as you said, the city actually makes money off of Citibike because, while it is self funded and not subsidized, Motivate, the operator, pays the city rent for the on-street parking spaces that are taken up by the bike racks. Now that’s a win-win. And I have no connection to Citibike, I’m not a member and I don’t plan to be.

    17. Rick says:

      Through his own recklessness, this driver—whose name has been kept secret for some reason—has caused the injury of another human being and should be held accountable.

      Also: “Nobody uses lanes on Columbus.”

      Are you serious? I used the Columbus bike lane at least once a week—when I lived on the East Side! There are a lot of people using the bike lane. One day, DOT will get their act together and begin counting them.

      If you want a car-only lifestyle, move to Texas.

      • dannyboy says:

        If you want a car-free lifestyle move to Fire Island.

      • Josh says:

        DOT does count the cyclists using the lanes. 724 cyclists crossed between 87th and 86th streets on Columbus between the hours of 7am and 7pm on the day they were counted in October of 2015. On Amsterdam, that number was 609. While it appears the numbers have increased since the bike lane on Amsterdam was installed, it could just be perception because they are more concentrated. But there are still issues with the lane: construction blocking it with no safe go around at 87th, cars parking in it constantly, cops blocking it to pick up food (especially at the Halal Guys on 95th where I have observed six different precincts), and a huge amount of construction where they are ripping it up to run the fiber wires for the LinkNYC kiosks. For those of you complaining about the uptown traffic on Amsterdam, the primary cause is NOT the bike lane at all, but is this construction that is closing off all but one lane on Amsterdam, which includes blocking the bike lane and parking lane. Also, the 96th street corridor is still discombobulated with a lot of “blocking the box” which has absolutely nothing to do with the bike lane.

    18. Sean says:

      Amsterdam Ave. is not the highway to heaven.

    19. Guest says:

      This is why physically separated bicycle lanes should extend through the turning bays. Could use bollards through that section.

      Driver is an idiot though. Should be sued and license suspended.

      • Zulu says:

        Yes, but that would slow down vehicular traffic tremendously, and that’s not the intent either. Based on the description of this “accident” such physical barriers wouldn’t have prevented this collision anyways.