A cyclist crashed into a pedestrian in Riverside Park on Saturday afternoon, according to Ken Coughlin, a member of Community Board 7 who showed up right afterward. The incident occurred in a section of the park where cyclists were diverted so that they wouldn’t conflict with pedestrians.
“I came upon this scene on the RSP detour about 4:30 this afternoon. A cyclist going south and descending from 79th Street hit a woman who was walking with other women across the bike path from the Boat Basin Cafe towards the tunnel leading to the parking garage. The cyclist told me he did all he could to avoid hitting anyone and braked so hard that he went over the handlebars. The women readily acknowledged that it was not his fault and that they had no idea they were crossing a bike path. Witnesses concurred that there was nothing more the cyclist could have done. An ambulance was called but it spent untold minutes at the top of the traffic circle, unsure of where to go next. I helped direct them down. The woman who was struck was conscious but apparently had at least an injured shoulder, perhaps more. I left after the ambulance arrived.”
The new detour on a hilly section of the park from 72nd to 83rd Street was meant to move cyclists away from the promenade on the Hudson, where pedestrians and cyclists sometimes came into conflict. But the path has drawn criticism because some say it’s not well-marked, is too hilly for most cyclists and allows other cyclists to build up too much speed. Coughlin explained to us why he’s concerned about the detour.
“It’s highly dangerous the way it is. This is perhaps the worst spot because of the steep descent and the likelihood of pedestrians crossing, but there are other dangerous locations as well, particularly the sharp turn where the detour begins near 72nd St. and the water. At the location where this crash occurred pedestrians need adequate warning that they are about to cross a bike path. Also, there are significant bumps at the bottom of the incline that need to be smoothed out because it’s possible to lose control of a bike if you’re unaware and going too fast. Finally, this detour if used at all going forward should only be for times when the waterfront path is too crowded to safely allow cycling. That is not the case most of the time.”