BICYCLIST CRITICALLY INJURED IN CENTRAL PARK FALL

bike fall
Photo courtesy of A Walk in the Park.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 12.05.01 AMA bicyclist who was reportedly trying to avoid a jogger in Central Park around 102nd Street and East Drive on Wednesday evening fell over his handlebars, according to Geoffrey Croft of NY Park Advocates.

“The man was pedaling north in the bike lane on the East Drive at 102nd Street when he swerved to avoid a jogger according to police and lost control,” Croft wrote on his blog, A Walk in the Park. The bicyclist, who is 67 years old, was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in critical condition but police said he was not likely to die.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 86 comments | permalink
    1. Mark says:

      Of course this is an individual who may have been riding in a safe and courteous manner. But in general I have no sympathy for cowboy/girl cyclists in the park who think they’re racing in the Tour de France and imperil the lives of pedestrians every day.

      • Laura C says:

        Note that the report says he was in the bike lane. There are separate, designated areas for pedestrians and joggers. Sounds like the jogger was at fault.

        • lynn says:

          Thanks for the link Sean. There were several bike accident articles listed to the right of that current article.

          This one interested me in particular because recently I posted that I saw a tourist on a Citibike get stuck between a bus and the curb and she fell toward a hot dog vendor and nearly hit her head on his cart. I questioned whether she could sue the city if injured while riding a Citibike, and mentioned that she should have been wearing a helmet, but apparently it’s not mandatory for adults.

          I don’t know how to search for previous WSR stories, but here’s the link that was on the Daily News page involving a lawsuit/Citibikes/and helmets: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/injured-citi-bike-rider-nyc-helmets-article-1.2730274

          • Zulu says:

            Hi Lynn,

            The reference to the lawsuit you bring up reminded me of the drunk guy who fell on the tracks and lost his leg when the train went over it. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1149243/Man-hit-New-York-subway-train-drunken-night-doesnt-remember-awarded-1-6m-losing-leg.html
            Apparently he was awarded $1.6M dollars mostly because the train operator had died of a heart attack before he could testify in court.

            The point I’m trying to make is that in this litigious oriented society lawsuits will never be stopped. Even worse, those with big pockets like city agencies are always going to be targeted for ransom money by people that refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

            CitiBike provides a great service and people get to choose the level of protection they desire. If a helmet law is imposed the bike share program will suffer greatly, as simple as that.

            So instead of treating the symptoms why don’t we focus on treating the disease. Let’s make sure that from this point on, streets are designed with more that one user in mind. Contrary to Dannyboy’s approach, sharing the road can be done successfully as long as the design allows for it and the culture fosters it.

            Let’s get past the helmet and move on to complete streets.

            • lynn says:

              Thanks for the link and the additional info Zulu. Personally I’ve never ridden a bike in the city but I’m all for making the streets safe for everyone, and who knows, someday I may consider renting a bike (but not until I buy a massive helmet). 😉

            • dannyboy says:

              “Contrary to Dannyboy’s approach, sharing the road can be done successfully as long as the design allows for it and the culture fosters it.”

              WHAT A MISCHARACTERIZATION OF MY COMMENT!

              If you are a decent person, you will apologize.

            • Zulu says:

              I didn’t mischaracterized your comment.

              You stated: “I have consistently felt that the ‘sharing’ of common road space is not working.”

              And I rebutted your comment by stating that I believe it [sharing] can work with proper design and a culture shift.

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, I know that you are familiar with the verb tenses that you twisted to mischaracterize my comment.

              If you hadn’t, then my comment would be that it is not working and your comment is that it is working.

              But you would have to admit that all the critical injuries and fatalities are working just the way you’d like.

            • Zulu says:

              Hi lynn,

              If I may suggest, a wonderful place to rent and ride a bike is Governors Island. It is very quiet and really beautiful, perfect for a picnic and some exploring. https://govisland.com/activities/biking

              This is a link to the different activities the park offers: https://www.nps.gov/gois/index.htm

              And by all means do wear whatever makes you feel safe and comfortable. Like others have said here, it’s best to have a bike shop properly fit you for a helmet.

      • Richard says:

        Mark,
        You would be wiseto read the old George Carlin quote that anyone driving slower than us is an A**hole and anyone going faster than us is a maniac. Just because someone can ride a bike faster than you doesn’t mean they are cowboys who think they are in the Tour de France. In fact, the park speed limit is 20mph (down from 25mph). I guarantee you 90% of the people you classify as cowboys are going under 20mph. As a serious cyclist myself, I can tell you that very few people can sustain a speed in the park faster than that. Maybe a short downhill etc. but it doesn’t take someone going 20+mph to seriously hurt someone. Falling off a bike even at 10mph can break a bone or fracture a skull, just as a person going 10mph on a bike can break a pedestrians leg. Not everything is as wild and exaggerated as you would like to make it.

    2. dannyboy says:

      “A bicyclist who was reportedly trying to avoid a jogger”

      like dogs and cats

      • Zulu says:

        What is that suppose to mean?

        What’s the intent of your comment?

        • dannyboy says:

          Zulu,
          I have consistently felt that the ‘sharing’ of common road space is not working.

          Note all the collisions:

          between cars and pedestrians,
          between bikes and pedestrians,
          between motorcycles and pedestrians,
          between cars and bikes
          between cars and motorcycles
          etc.

          You figure the permutations.

          • Zulu says:

            You forgot the most important one:

            between cars and cars

            If that’s your thinking we have to ban cars from the roads because they get into collisions with each other all the time. In fact car “accidents” are the number four leading cause of death in this country. Only superseded by Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases, which by the way cars share some of the blame with smoking.

            • David Collins says:

              No!

              A car hits a car at 25mph – most likely no one gets hurt.

              A car hits a person at 25mph – the person likely dies or is critically injured.

              A cyclist hits a car – most likely car gets a dent and cyclist takes a tumble.

              A cyclist hits a person – the person is hurt or severely injured.

            • Zulu says:

              No, what? What are you saying, that cars don’t travel faster than 25 MPH?

              BTW, when a cyclist hits a pedestrian odds are that both of them are going to the hospital.

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, you inquired about my Comment with: “What is that suppose to mean?
              What’s the intent of your comment?”

              and I generously and honestly replied to you.

              You took my earnest response and TWISTED IT TO FIT YOUR MYOPIC AGENDA with “If that’s your thinking we have to ban cars from the roads because they get into collisions with each other all the time.”

              Why?

          • Zulu says:

            Who’s more myopic, you or I? You failed to identify the 500 lb. gorilla in the room when you started to list all the permutations between road users and disregarded the most obvious and numerous of conflicts on the road.

            You continue to represent yourself as generous whenever you answer other people’s questions. That’s not being generous, that’s simply engaging in an argument. If you don’t like others challenging your point of view than don’t post. If you’re going to rub it in peoples’ faces that you were “generous” by answering a question may I suggest you keep your generosity to yourself. I wasn’t aware I was in the presence of royalty to whom I owed reverence and gratefulness for acknowledging my existence. This is not the first time you play that card either and it taints the discourse.

            The only agenda I have is to make bicycling safe in this city. I want streets to be safe enough for kids to ride to school. I want people of all ages to be able to travel about on their bikes with out having to think they are outliers. Bicycling IS LEGAL, and it should also be safe.

    3. Juan says:

      Generally speaking, if the biker was in the bike lane then the jogger should not have been in his way. However, at the same time, if it was that hard to avoid the jogger and the fall led to such major injuries, this biker was likely going way too fast, particularly for that time of night when the park is very crowded. Central Park and Riverside Park, particularly at busy times, are for leisurely rides, not race training. And yes, I do know plenty of 67 year old men who do race training, which in the right environment is a great thing.

      But ultimately, what matters most is that I hope he gets better soon.

      • wonderingwonderer says:

        I have seen bad behavior in cyclists and runners. But this is of note in a link someone attached leading to another article with photos and more info. The cyclist was not wearing a helmet while riding a road bike which is surprising given that he flew over the handlebars. Must’ve been at a high speed.

      • Nathan says:

        Or the jogger crossed without looking and stepped in front of the cyclist without warning. Speed is important in terms of reaction times, but even at a reasonable speed unexpected obstructions are unavoidable.

    4. Sean says:

      The cyclist was a 67 year old senior citizen.

      • Carlos says:

        So? In five months the leader of the free world, regardless of the outcome of the election, will be older than that.

        • Zulu says:

          So?

          Reactions times are slower the older a person gets, so it is quite possible he wasn’t going too fast for the environment, and instead the jogger/pedestrian darted in his path.

          Severe trauma is easier to inflict as our bodies age so what could’ve been bumps and bruises for a 20 something year old, it’s a trip to the ER for a senior citizen.

          So, since your tone is condescending to the guy who (as far as all accounts) did the right thing and got to suffer the consequences, I choose to give the same guy more than the benefit of the doubt.

          That’s so.

          • Carlos says:

            Sorry for offending you. I was actually speaking out on behalf of older people, saying that there are many people that age who are capable of doing many things, such as ruling the world.

            But if you are a less able-bodied older person, you should adjust your speed accordingly so that it is reflective of your diminished reaction times. This is why there is the well-founded stereotype of the extremely elderly person driving 15 miles an hour in a 55 zone – they do not believe they can break quickly enough at a higher speed.

    5. Derek says:

      So they endanger people by flying down the bike lanes, they endanger people by speeding through the parks – what’s next? Go cycle around an enclosed circular track if you want to practice this stupid sport in your silly outfits.

      • Jay says:

        Did you even read the article? Seems like you didn’t.

      • EricaC says:

        Just as bikers can be in the wrong, so can pedestrians.

        Even in this sort of situation, the John Rawls solution for determining whether society is just is pretty applicable. We need rules that we all agree would be fair, no matter which side of the equation we are on – biker or jogger/walker, in this case. Bikers need to take care and not treat common space as a race training location, and walkers/joggers should stay out of the bike lane. Sounds as though this guy made a pretty significant sacrifice to protect a jogger who was breaking the rules, so to speak harshly of him seems very unfair – and unfeeling.

      • Sean says:

        What would you have them wear?

    6. WestSide_Mimi says:

      I wish the cyclist a speedy recovery. No pun intended. These accidents are so avoidable if only joggers and bicyclists would be responsible and pay attention to their traffic lanes. We do not know if he was speeding but we do know he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Wish him the best.

      • Mark says:

        I’m glad that no pun was intended. Because no pun was given.

      • Zulu says:

        Please stop to pretend you care with the helmet comment. It’s not a law and it’s the person’s problem whether they wear one or not.

        • Westside_Mimi says:

          Yes Zulu,you are correct. No law for wearing helmets but I have lost 2 friends due to biking accidents. In one case it resulted in death, and the other who sustained a severe head injury and will forever need care 24/7. So you are wrong on your second count. Try not to be too judgmental. Of course no law against that either.

          • Zulu says:

            Westside_mimi, I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m critical of the knee jerk reaction from the media and also folks here on the helmet issue.

            It usually follows this pattern:

            When a bicyclist is injured the first assumption (clearly exemplified in the majority of the postings here), it’s the bicyclists fault. If the cyclist is in the clear, people start to spew the following bile:
            -It’s their own damn fault for not wearing a helmet!
            -They should’ve known better, bicycles are dangerous!
            -What do they think this is Amsterdam?!
            -Go ride your silly bike in the park!
            -Get a car!
            -You look ridiculous in those clothes!
            -You paid how much for that bike?!
            -Bikes are a menace to pedestrians, I’ve had so many close calls!
            – and so on and so forth.

            Now helmets do prevent some injuries and even fatalities. In this particular example, the cyclist broke his clavicle and fractured a vertebrae. Two injuries that the helmet wouldn’t have prevented. It would have prevented any lacerations to the head which at this point is unclear if he had any.

            The point is that helmets are great and it behooves cyclists to wear them. However, as other cities have shown, there are other far more effective means of preventing head or any other type of trauma. These means are based on better street designs and a higher bicycle usage per capita… safety in masses.

    7. Eric says:

      According to the Daily News it was not a jogger but a pedestrian who stepped into a crosswalk

    8. josh says:

      Ha, I love the Daily News piece — a “high-end Raleigh 10-speed road bike”. They haven’t made high-end 10-speed bikes since the 1980s — and the picture shows a bike that is clearly NOT high end. In any event, that northern part of the park has few pedestrians, and its right before the big hill, so cyclists usually ride faster up there. And pedestrians NEVER look when they walk up there because its often empty. From experience, the cyclist was probably riding a decent speed (though not “flying” as some poster commented), and a pedestrian stepped out without looking. An accident waiting to happen. While I agree that no cyclist should ever be riding fast in the southern portion of the park during the day — its just way too crowded — above 96th street it isn’t dangerous at all if pedestrians actually look before they cross.

      • Ted says:

        You’re point is valid in that as most of us learned in Drivers Ed defensive driving is about not counting on the other person to do the right thing all the time.

        It is not clear from the conflicting reports what actually happened. If it was a pedestrian crossing appropriately the ownness is on the biker to yield the right of way. That is the law. There is substantial danger in the inconsistency with which cyclists follow this law. More and more in the park I see responsible cyclists who yield and stop at red lights but their good example is undermined when someone else speeds through the intersection at the same time. If pedestrians think everyone is stopping it increases the danger.

        I think that we can all agree that neither pedestrians or cyclists in aggregate are free from responsibility but the pedestrian right of way needs to be respected on a consistent basis.

      • Margaret says:

        “High-end 10-speed Raleigh” – seriously, come on, NY Daily News.

        Sincere prayers to everyone involved here. What a sad story. I get frustrated with people stepping straight out in front of me when I’m just jogging through. Cycling in the park is pure joy. Hoping for the best for this poor guy.

    9. dw says:

      Such a huge contrast between CA (and elsewhere) and NYC when it comes to cycling. For example, this, just today:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/business/dealbook/cycling-matches-the-pace-and-pitches-of-tech.html

    10. MJ says:

      So terrible. I hope he recovers quickly. As a cyclist and a runner, I find myself on both sides of this equation and understand the frustration on both sides. When I’m running, I often find myself telling the tourists they’re walking in the bike lane so they’ll move over. But my rule for self-preservation means when I’m on a bike, everyone else “wins.” Battle for the light between me and a turning car? Car wins, just let them go first. Pedestrian crossing in front of me in the park? Pedestrian wins, maybe with a loud yell from me for future reference, but they still get to cross first. And always, always, always ALWAYS wear a helmet. Always.

      Cyclists need to realize that unless they’re riding on the nice wide uninterrupted shoulder on 9W, you’re at the mercy of stoplights, cars and pedestrians. You’re not going to get a fast workout in the park (or at least not safely), but you can still get a good one. Just switch into a super low gear and work on your cadence. Nobody gets fit from barreling down a hill in Central Park. Sure, it’s fun, but that’s certainly not worth the potential visit to an emergency room (or morgue).

    11. grandmasterbeta says:

      I walk, run, and bike all over the city. I just can’t understand the animosity some people have about cyclists. Accidents happen and there’s no indication of who’s to blame. But if he really flew 20-30 feet he was going too fast. More than 20mph by my rusty physics.

      • Zulu says:

        I highly doubt he was doing more than 20mph on this section of the park which is a slight uphill. The 25-30 ft distance came from a news source that is not known for, how should I say this, giving a damn for being factual.

        As a cyclist you would know that it really doesn’t take much to go over the handlebars. He could’ve been doing 10 mph and gotten hurt as much as he did. Particularly if it was a sudden reaction and locked the front wheel as he attempted to avoid the jogger.

        • grandmasterbeta says:

          Going over the handlebars and _flying_ over them are dependent on speed. I’ve gone over them many a time at 2-10mph (thankfully on a mtb where you just dust yourself off.). But lets say the guy flew 20 feet or even 10 feet and slid on the ground, then he was going fast.

          Anyway bikers should always yield to runners and pedestrians. And they should always expect the unexpected from them. And if you want to time trial in CP, do it off hours.

    12. Ben Willis says:

      I have been reading WSR for years and never commented until now. For some reason this phrase,”but police said he was not likely to die,” strikes me funny. I think, “the cyclist is likely to survive” would be much less morbid.

      • West Sider says:

        That is a very good suggestion. We were flummoxed as to how to write it. WSR

      • Zulu says:

        I think that stems from the fact that the NYPD only investigates traffic collisions if there is a death or there is a victim likely to die.

    13. Sherman says:

      I hope this guy recovers.

      However, I run in the park all the time. A lot of these bicyclists are reckless and ride way too fast.

      I narrowly avoided getting hit by a speeding bike on several occasions.

    14. Andy says:

      Whose fault? A few observations based on 43 years of cycling, driving and walking:

      Regarding speed: there is no way to deduce that the rider was traveling at excessive speed. Under emergency braking conditions at even low speeds, a front wheel lockup will send the rider over the bars; simple physics of momentum, and a common occurrence.

      Low-speed falls can produce significant injury. A colleague with decades of riding experience went down when nearly stopped coming to an intersection due to a road surface flaw. His fall resulted in a fractured clavicle and cervical vertebrae (he was also in his 60s) requiring hospitalization, surgery, and a metal head brace attached to his skull.

      Helmets provide zero protection for those injuries. I choose to wear helmets, but not wearing one does not produce a foregone conclusion that a rider that had a collision or fall would not be injured in had they worn a helmet, not that they were behaving in a reckless manner.

      I’m a member of all NYC transportation categories – I own a car, I use mass transit, taxis, and walk a lot. I ride for recreation, errands and I commute by bike from the upper part of CPW to midtown east. The fact is we all behave badly. On a daily basis:

      -I observe many cyclists in Central Park riding at high speeds in mixed use spaces, apparently in “training mode”. Bad behavior.

      -I observe many pedestrians (and some runners) in Central Park suddenly move into cyclists’ paths without looking first. Bad behavior.

      -On the streets I observe many riders disregarding signals at intersections. Bad behavior.

      -An entrenched fact of life in Manhattan is pedestrian entitlement to crossing against signals, mid-block crossing, and taking street lanes when sidewalks are crowded or encroached by construction. Often while looking at a screen rather than their surroundings. Bad behavior.

      Shared use paths and roadways require us to share the burden of learning how to accommodate each other and reduce the risk of injury to self and others. Without any education in this we’re left to make the case for our own point of interest, with each group blaming the other for Bad Things Happening. Sadly, we’re all at fault.

      • Lorraine says:

        Brava! Very well said. Unfortunately, I feel cynical about the education aspect. I think people just don’t care enough. And it kills me because these things are so simple and would be a massive improvement in quality of life, never mind everyone’s safety.

      • Zulu says:

        Clear and to the point! Thanks for posting.

      • Ted says:

        Well said and can’t disagree but would add that high speed is virtually always more dangerous than slower speeds. In the kinematics of trauma velocity is the biggest determinant of inappropriate energy transfer (that’s what causes damage, excessive energy transferred to the body). Mass plays a role but speed has an exponential effect on the equation. This is why a 600 pound tourist and bump you walking 3 mph and do nothing but a 125 pound cyclist barreling down a hill could kill you. Given that bikes offer minimum protection from impact, cyclists should bear this in mind.

      • Tim says:

        “The fact is we all behave badly. On a daily basis:” “we’re all at fault.”

        Speak for yourself pal. I’ve always been courteous and aware of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in my 35+ years as an adult in the city. I’m not perfect, but I’m not at fault for anything when I’m traveling amongst the public, in the city.

      • Christian says:

        Agreed!

    15. Debbie D. says:

      I really do get sad over the comments sometimes around cyclists. Somehow, the real story of a 60-something year old man riding an old steel bicycle, who slammed so hard on his brakes he flipped over and sent himself to the hospital got lost.

      Instead we get comments about “tour de france” cyclists who “endanger” lives by riding in the bike lanes.

      This guy sent himself to the hospital, where he is in critical condition (!!) trying to avoid hitting someone while he was riding in the bike lane.

      For what its worth, where he fell is actually uphill, and my guess is a 67 year old on an old steel road bike isnt going at breakneck speeds.

      • John Gibson says:

        There is not enough information to know who is at fault or why this happened. But unless the article about is simply making stuff up he did have to be going at breakneck speed to get launched 25-30 feet.

        • Zulu says:

          If you’re going to rely on the Daily News to fact check any of their stories your going to be very disappointed.

          But let’s assume that the Daily News got it right for a moment and this cyclist did fly in the air 25 to 30 feet before hitting the ground. Based on physics equations of projectile motion, the cyclist would have had to be traveling at approximately 20 MPH to fly almost 27ft in the air. Now 20 MPH is just above the average speed a typical person can sustain on a bike on flat terrain. So considering the cyclist is 67 y.o., this area of the park drive is uphill and the bike he’s travelling on is a heavy 10 speed steel bike, I say the Daily News is full of it.

          Furthermore since it only takes about 7 lbs of pressure to break a human clavicle he needn’t have to be going much faster than 10 MPH to have been injured in the way he did.

          In other words breakneck speeds are much, much lower than what you think.

        • Larry says:

          Pedestrians should be given a summon just as cyclists and drivers are ticketed for not following the rules. I got injured because a man walking his dog suddenly walked into the bike lane as I was passing him in Central Park. I sustained injuries and he walks away. I had my garmin to show that I wasn’t even going fast.

        • Andy says:

          I’m also highly skeptical about someone “flying 20-30 feet”. A pro in mid-sprint wouldn’t go that far, no less one of us mere mortals.

          Agree with Debbie D., we forget, someone was seriously injured. If this were our neighbor/friend our concerns would be with him, not taking it out on those who “practice this stupid sport in your silly outfits.”

      • Mark says:

        Ageist much?

      • B.B. says:

        Like many others who have commented ride my bike in CP all the time; and no, do not believe that area is an incline (hill). If anything it is a slight decline or level after coming down a hill a bit further south.

        East Drive has a deep decline just beyond the 102nd Street crossing

    16. B.B. says:

      Not to hijack this thread but another ER question.

      Mount Sinai is literally right outside CP from where this incident occurred (you can see it clearly in picture above), but the injured man was taken over to Saint Luke’s?

    17. PeterQDub says:

      Even pedaling at a leisurely pace can get you up to 8-10 MPH – pretty fast and enough to cause injury in a collision. 15 20mph or more is easily possible on the right bike with the right effort. Too many of the bikers are frankly going too fast for the park with its mix of tourists and leisurely walkers – seems ridiculous but there needs to be a speed limit or a dedicated separate lane or area for the serious race bikers. Worse in Riverside where there is less room to pass.

      • Richard says:

        Very true. How about we all think of common courtesy and awareness of each other as what needs to change. We live in a world where it is no longer just cars on roads and people on sidewalks. There are bikes, runners, skateboarders, etc. and we all have a right to use the road ways. This idea that roads are for cars only is absurd. There was a point in history where it was horses. Just be courteous and aware people.

        • dannyboy says:

          “Just be courteous and aware people.” – Richard

          i’ll get back to you with my opinion of the practicality of ‘sharing the road’.

          • Zulu says:

            I think you already made it clear what your opinion is on this matter:

            “I have consistently felt that the ‘sharing’ of common road space is not working.

            Note all the collisions:

            between cars and pedestrians,
            between bikes and pedestrians,
            between motorcycles and pedestrians,
            between cars and bikes
            between cars and motorcycles
            etc.

            You figure the permutations.” – dannyboy

          • Sophia says:

            This is just another example of you not having anything worthwhile to say except to make some snarky remark.

            • dannyboy says:

              Your remark is VERY SNARKY. Please note mine:

              “I have consistently felt that the ‘sharing’ of common road space is not working.
              Note all the collisions:
              between cars and pedestrians,
              between bikes and pedestrians,
              between motorcycles and pedestrians,
              between cars and bikes
              between cars and motorcycles
              etc.
              You figure the permutations.”