Bicyclist Injured in Crash on Central Park West


The site of the crash.

By Renée Roden

A cyclist was hit by a small SUV Thursday night around 5:05 pm on Central Park West and 103rd. A woman living at 425 Central Park West said she heard the cyclist’s body hit the pavement and came out to investigate. A local bystander named Gil called the police. About ten minutes later two cop cars and two ambulances arrived on the scene, he says.

According to Gil, the cyclist was hit by a dusk-colored Toyota RAV4, which had been parked at the fire hydrant on the southbound side of CPW in front of 425 Central Park West. On the red light, the car swung out of its parking spot to do a U-turn northbound and hit the northbound cyclist, Gil said.

After the crash, the driver of the Toyota was back in his parking spot and the cyclist — a middle-aged man with a brown paper bag on the back of his blue bike — was on the ground, being attended to by EMTs.

The EMTs got the cyclist in a harness and brought him into the ambulance. Police remained on the scene to question the driver and clear the intersection. Police headquarters had no further information on the crash.

NEWS | 45 comments | permalink
    1. dannyb says:

      any chance someone’s got a picture or took down the license plate? I’d love to run its record. Thanks

    2. BB says:

      “Did the biker “run” the red light?

    3. BJK says:

      Was the bicyclist running a red light?

    4. Matt H says:

      DOT has been lackadaisical about painting any markings on the road since it was repaved from 96th-110th several months ago.

      With repainting there would have been a wide buffered protected bike lane northbound, possibly shielded with pylons there.

      Anyone know if this would’ve been done by now if not for COVID?

      Sounds to me like both parties to the crash ran their red lights. With the SUV barreling along what would be the pedestrian crosswalk with a walk sign if, again, the crosswalk were painted by now. And doing a maneuver eastbound at a road (103) that’s one way westbound. One person here, not both, did something egregiously dangerous: it was the SUV driver.

    5. Matt H says:

      Oh, my bad on the previous comment. 425 CPW is south of 103rd street, so this would have been a midblock u turn. So simply a case of the SUV driver making a u turn when the road was not clear. There are no businesses nearby, a u turn here would be permissible.

      It’s possible the cyclist went through at 102, before the crash, on a red light, or on a green. By the time they got to a midblock position it’s actually immaterial. (Unless this was a souped up 30 mph ebike or something.)

      My comments before about failure to paint the protected bike lane in a timely manner still stand.

      • Paul says:

        Mid-block u turns are routine, but illegal.
        Legal u turns are made from the lane which would normally be used for a left turn.

        Since the u turn was mid block, illegal, it’s the driver’s fault. Period. (the bike rider could have made a legal turn from 102 onto CPW, or come out of the park, or even run the light riding northbound, it’s irrelevant).

        • Matt H says:

          No such requirement. The relevant DMV manual section (which isn’t the actual law, but seems accurate to the law) is here:

          https://dmv.ny.gov/about-dmv/chapter-5-intersections-and-turns

          U turns within a business district in New York City are not allowed, but midblock U turns are okay if in a place where U turns are allowed at all.

          • Boris says:

            Not accurate. U-turns anywhere in the state are governed by this regulation in the manual you cited:
            “Unless signs tell you otherwise, you can make a U-turn when you get permission to proceed by a green arrow left-turn traffic signal, provided it is allowed and you yield to other traffic.”

            U-turns can be made ONLY at intersections where a left-turn traffic signal guides vehicles. And they must be made from the left lane. There are very few left-turn signals on CPW going north or south.

            The driver probably pulled away from the curb and crossed 4 lanes of traffic to make the U-turn.

          • Paul says:

            This, from the pamphlet you cited:
            “You can make a U-turn only from the left portion of the lane nearest to the centerline of the roadway, never from the right lane. Unless signs tell you otherwise, you can make a U-turn when you get permission to proceed by a green arrow left-turn traffic signal, provided it is allowed and you yield to other traffic.”

            Does that sound like what the driver did here?

            Like I said, 100% the driver’s fault.

            • Matt H says:

              You’re reading something into the law that isn’t there. (It is easy to be mislead, I’ll grant you.)

              “You can make a U-turn only from the left portion of the lane nearest to the centerline of the roadway, never from the right lane.”

              Actually may have been at issue here, as the driver may have U turned

              “Unless signs tell you otherwise, you can make a U-turn when you get permission to proceed by a green arrow left-turn traffic signal, provided it is allowed and you yield to other traffic.”

              That’s another circumstance where a u turn can happen, it’s not intended to be exhaustive. Otherwise drivers could not make u turns anywhere that a left arrow signal is absent; that’s an absurd result.

              The law could be better drafted. It reminds me a bit of the RCNY rule that on a 40 foot width or greater one way roadway, cyclists must ride close as practicable to the left or right edge of the road. People look at that and their mind fills in a gap, assuming that on narrower roads cyclists must stay right. Actually the law is completely silent on this! In the absence of any explicit prohibitions, any lane position is actually a-ok!

            • Matt H says:

              “as the driver may have u turned _from the curb lane_, not anywhere near the centerline of the road” <- incomplete sentence in my previous reply. Sorry!

          • Crossing double yellow lines is not allowed for U-turns in NYS unless certain requirements are met.

            https://dmv.ny.gov/about-dmv/chapter-4-traffic-control-2#pav-mar

            https://dmv.ny.gov/about-dmv/chapter-5-intersections-and-turns#mku-trn

            https://nytrafficticket.com/illegal-u-turn-in-a-business-district-and-other-illegal-u-turns/

            Questions to ask are:

            Does Central Park West have signs prohibiting U-turns?

            Should NYC make U-turns illegal on streets with double yellow lines?

            Some laws pertaining to bicycles:

            https://www.dot.ny.gov/display/programs/bicycle/faq

            https://nybc.net/education/bike-law/2-uncategorised/68-a-summary-of-ny-state-bike-laws

    6. Joey says:

      Why are bicycles allowed on CPW and not confined to the bike lanes within Central Park. Autos have been removed from Central Park to give pedestrians and bicyclists a safe domain. In many instances it is the bicycles causing the crashes.

      • Jay says:

        Wow. If this isn’t your stereotypical westsiderag comment, I don’t know what is.

      • West Seventy-Seconder says:

        Why are bicycles “allowed” on CPW? Maybe because it’s not an interstate?

      • Stu says:

        Huh? Because the bike lane in Central Park on the west side is southbound. He was going northbound, and therefore rode on the CPW bike path (as he should).

      • Bikerlady says:

        To Joey and any other obvious non-bikers… the Drive in Central Park is one way to wheeled traffic (bikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades). Drive traffic runs north up the east side and south down the west side. So if you need to cycle north up the west side, you’re supposed to use the bike lane on CPWest, which is also one way (northbound). Unfortunately not everyone follows the rules, and even those that do are not completely safe.

      • Alta says:

        How do people assume that you can get to every corner of the city using only the central park bike lanes???

        The West Side of the Park bike lane runs south, so you can’t bike north without going to the East Side.

    7. ST says:

      Since the lockdown cars are speeding like crazy., blasting down quiet blocks. These drivers know there is no enforcement.

    8. Sharon Canns says:

      Often cyclists bypass red lights. The police do nothing and people who are walking are in danger of cyclists. This comment does not refer to the above situation. I am hopeful that someone begins to address how cyclists too often are reckless. I live close to Central Park West on the Upper Westside and witness the problem of cyclists recklessly riding through red lights all the time. They also go the wrong way.A lot of them do not obey traffic rules.

      • Matt H says:

        And what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China?

        There’s no indication that the rider broke any laws here. Or even in the possible event that he did, it does not seem relevant to this crash.

        Automatically reaching for “cyclists break the law all the time, therefore that’s what I’m going to talk about” in response to a story like this is whataboutism and reveals prejudicial thought patterns. Instead, please try to understand the incident on its own unique terms.

        • Class(less) Clown says:

          Re: “…in response to a story like this is whataboutism….”

          “Whataboutism” ?!?!

          PHEW! For a moment there, before looking it up, I thought your post said ‘Whatabotulism’ !

          My bad…(NOT)

        • Pepper says:

          I’m curious…does anyone know what the price of tea is in China?

      • Boris says:

        People like you exaggerate the dangers created by reckless cyclists. Most of the danger arises from careless pedestrian behavior. Whether I’m running or cycling, I come across pedestrians that are incredibly nonchalant about their own unpredictable walking patterns. If someone has their head buried in their phone, I don’t deviate from my straight line. It’s not solely my responsibility to get out of their way when they’re so distracted.

        Wrong way biking shouldn’t be an issue if you’re a pedestrian who follows the laws that pertain to you. Don’t cross or stand in the bike lane. There are plenty of places in the City where 2-way bike lanes function perfectly. The best example is on 6th Ave from 32nd to 33rd St (it might even go to 34th St). Another is on 1st Ave from 59th to 60th St.

        • Paul says:

          Wrong way biking is an issue for pedestrians and for right way bike riders.
          Pedestrians look in the direction of traffic before proceeding, and then start to walk. That is perfectly appropriate and reasonable, and wrong way riders endanger them.
          I ride 4 – 5 times a week, and on bike lanes and on side streets I find that wrong way riders are among my biggest hazards. Riding the right way traffic comes from behind, and wrong way riders force me into that traffic (which they can see, it’s in front of them but I can’t).

          There’s no excuse for the laziness of people who can’t pedal one block over.

          • UWS Pedestrian says:

            Thank you, Paul. – From a constantly endangered pedestrian.

          • Boris says:

            Then how do pedestrians handle the 2-way bike lane portion on 6th Ave? It’s their obligation to look both ways when they cross there if cyclists are going in the right direction. Just to be clear, I’m mainly talking about pedestrians that jaywalk when they cross a bike lane. I hope you’re not implying that jaywalkers are always in the right as long as a biker is going the wrong way.

            • Paul says:

              You handle a 2 way bike lane the same way you handle a 2 way street. Look in the direction from which traffic might come before crossing into it.

              If I’m crossing Amsterdam I have to look south. If I’m crossing Columbus I have to look north.

              Why should I be “responsible” for looking out for lawbreakers?

              And when we riders stop going through red lights we can be all so high and mighty about jaywalking, ok?

              You gonna go first on that one?

        • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

          I agree that the danger of cyclists is extremely exaggerated, but disagree about wrong way riding (salmoning). Cyclists should not be riding at speed in the wrong direction. I do it in limited circumstances: example, I live 3 doors from the corner on a one way street. I will salmon that distance since going around the block would be about 1/3 of a mile, but my pace is about 6mph and I am expecting to stop on a dime. Why dont I just walk my bike? The sidewalk is narrow there so me walking with my bike at my side will actually impede someone walking in the other direction.

          There are cyclists who blow through red lights in an unsafe manner. The book should be thrown at them (I’m not even against that literally) but most of us go through red lights safely and the reality is, for a cyclist, it is usually safer to proceed through a red light (when it is safe to do so and DOES NOT IMPEDE OR ENDANGER A PEDESTRIAN) than to wait for the light to turn green. For instance, at the extremely dangerous corner of 96th and Amsterdam, it is safer for a cyclist going straight or making a right turn to go through the red light, if there is no cross or pedestrian traffic, than to do the same on the green because of driver behavior that would cause a right hook. The best time to go right us during the leading pedestrian interval, but many drivers turn right from the wrong lane with a red arrow, so the safest way for a northbound cyclist to cross 96 is when traffic is clear on a red.

          • Boris says:

            Salmoning shouldn’t be as big an issue as some make it out to be. Repetitive whining about bikers going the wrong way IN A BIKE LANE is probably more indicative of lifestyle jealousy and pettiness.

            If ‘wrong way’ cycling were a major danger, we wouldn’t see such contra-flow bike paths throughout major cities around the world. There are respected transportation design entities that have developed a science about them and can intellectually discuss them based on scientific data. That is in direct contrast to bike haters who just scream that a biker is GOING THE WRONG WAY! Pedestrians blow this issue way out of proportion. Even if someone is walking all the way from CPW to the Hudson, there are only three bike lanes that need to be crossed in that 0.6 mile stretch. I doubt most whiners are crossing more than one bike lane on an average walk. Is it that hard to look both ways a maximum of three times? I learned that concept when I was growing up even without bikes being in the equation.

            NYC already has plenty of 2-way bike lanes in busy places like 1st Ave, 6th Ave, Kent Ave, Prospect Park West, and the Hudson River Greenway. Have pedestrians not been able to safely cross the street in those places? It’s shameful that parents set such poor examples for their kids when they cross indiscriminately paying more attention to their phones as they step off the sidewalk.

            • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

              Salmoning is not an issue in cantraflow bike lanes because it is legal to go both directions. Salmoning is an issue in a single direction bike lane because the salmoning cyclist is not following the rules. Cantraflow lanes are marked as such, have yellow lines painted on them, etc, and are wider. For a cyclist following the rules, why should I have to worry about having to move into traffic because a salmoning cyclist is at me from the wrong way? If I am trying to pass another cyclist in the same direction, I can choose the safe time to move abreast and overtake. With a salmoning cyclists, I cannot choose the moment of passing and I no longer have control over my safety because that other person is doing something wrong. If it is a 2-way bike lane, yes, pedestrians should look both ways. If it is a one way bike lane, it is hard enough to get some pedestrians to look in the right direction before crossing in the first place. For most of our PBLs, there is no reason to make them bidirectional.

        • Pam says:

          Boris, you’re an idiot. I have been hit by bicycles twice. In both cases I had the right of way not the bicycle.

      • Pam says:

        Most cyclists do not obey the traffic laws and they are too often riding on the sidewalks. Don’t have much sympathy for them as it is usually their own fault.

        • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

          I have been cursed out by pedestrians 5 times in my years of riding. One was yelling at me because he thought my flashing light was too bright as I approached while he was standing IN a bike lane, waiting to cross. The other three tried telling me they had the right of way when, according to the law, they did not. The most recent woman was walking her dog across CPW and started yelling at me that she had the light. She stopped fairly abruptly when I asked her to look at the light and she saw there was a few second left on the countdown in the other direction, meaning she could not possibly have had the light. An older woman yelled at me that I ran the red light crossing Columbus after I had been stopped on the red and did not proceed until the light turned green. Maybe she was color blind? Or just blind. The fourth one was as i made a left from CPW with the light, and the pedestrian believed that it was the light that controlled her progress and not the solid red hand on the pedestrian control signal. Even though, in each and every case, I didn’t come close to hitting any of the pedestrians, they still said I did. When I cross paths with pedestrians, whether they are in the right or in the wrong, I make sure to give a full travel lane worth of space, or about 10 feet.

          And my favorite one was where the woman started screaming at me that I almost ran the red light and almost hit her as I came to a stop at a red light. The front wheel of my bike still had a foot to go to reach the stop line of the intersection.

          Sorry, I dont have much faith in people who post online and say ‘a biker did this to me and I was the one who had the right of way.’ Too many people just simply have a bias against cyclists. I see it from all sides since I ride a bike, own a car, and as an Upper West Sider, am a pedestrian for most of my locomotion.

    9. Ken says:

      Many readers’ need to reflexively blame the cyclist in such crashes is astonishing. Based on the facts at hand, of course the operator of the multi-ton vehicle that made an illegal maneuver is at fault. But the cyclist was riding on a street that not only lacked any markings but that should have had a protected bike lane, which DOT started last year but inexplicably halted at 77th Street. With the protected lane, the driver would have been forced to make a tighter U-turn, sparing the cyclist.

      • Matt H says:

        Narrow point, the main thing the redesign below 77th street really does is eliminate the curbside parking, moving the bike lane right alongside the curb. Without parked cars outside the bike lane, just paint, there isn’t really any hard protection against over-wide U turns. Though with the new config a U turn would have to be super-wide to encroach on the lane rather than just being modestly wide.

        There may be some light pylons in certain places — my memory’s unclear on this, even though I was just there yesterday morning! — but by and large the barrier is just a wide painted buffer. (And at bus stops the treatment is different still, as buses still pull in curbside.)

      • Paul says:

        This was the act of a bad driver.
        A guy who was looking behind him, seeing that was clear, and pulling a “U” without adequately checking what was in the lane he was pulling into.

        If a pedestrian had been in the roadway instead of a bike rider, the pedestrian would have been hit.
        If another car had been there, it would have been hit.
        If an animal had been there, it would have been hit.

        The difference? Anything other than a bike rider, there wouldn’t be this number of comments.

    10. Andy says:

      Editors: If you please, the cyclist was hit by the driver. Vehicles are not autonomous quite yet.

      • Boris says:

        No…he was hit by the vehicle. That’s the object that made the impact. No need to be pedantic.

    11. Dom says:

      There is a mutual disrespect between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, as neither feel the rules of the road apply to them when it becomes inconvenient. It’s a basic entitlement mentality endemic to overcrowded cities like this one. I see it play out in the streets every day. If you don’t see it as well, then you’re part of the problem.

    12. Mark says:

      The partially completed bike lane would have saved this cyclist from injury. It’s also likely the complete lack of road markings is because the cycle lane was expected to be installed first. Many months have passed since the resurfacing. What’s the holdup?

    13. JP says:

      This headline should reflect “Driver’s carelessness resulted in injury to bicylist” otherwise, this looks like it could have been the cyclists fault.