By Kate Seklir
The pandemic has made parks even more crucial for exercise and mental health, and Upper West Siders are flocking to them in large numbers. In some cases, that’s led to conflict, and even injury — a jogger was critically injured after a bicyclist hit her in the park on Tuesday.
On Tuesday night, Community Board 7 passed a resolution asking for the NYPD and Parks Enforcement Patrol to protect park users — in particular by stopping bicyclists from breaking traffic laws.
The text is below:
This resolution is based on the following facts:
During the Covid Crisis, use of Central Park by neighborhood residents is an essential means of recreation, exercise, and respite from the need to isolate at home.
Cyclists and other vehicles in Central Park sometimes fail to obey traffic laws and regulations such as failing to stop at red lights, failing to yield, and failing to observe the legal speed limit, and there are also cyclists who ride on pedestrian-only paths. This conduct places pedestrians at risk.
Therefore, be it resolved that Community Board 7/Manhattan calls on the New York Police
Department and the Parks Enforcement Patrol to increase enforcement of violations by cyclists
and other vehicles of traffic laws and regulations and Parks rules to promote pedestrian safety.
The resolution passed 28-2-9-0.
Board member Susan Schwartz supported the resolution and said certain cyclists failing to respect pedestrian paths, red lights, and yield signals. She had witnessed the crash on Tuesday.
Others spoke out against it, believing the proposed increase in enforcement was too harsh and would be ineffective.
Robbins attempted to amend the resolution, but his amendment failed.
I ride bike in Central park, I wouldn’t call myself a cyclist, but I obey the rules and am not speeding.But I do take offense to the bad rap that is constantly given to bikers, while joggers are given free rein. Even before COVID, I have experienced runners that run down the middle of the bike lane, dash out against the light, and simply do not watch for traffic. More so, very few wear masks in comparison to the bikers. If there are to be rules, EVERYONE should follow them to stay safe.
That’s because almost no one in the world has ever been killed or critically injured by being jogged into!!! DUH!!!!!
Thanks for the much needed laugh, lol. In a period of 15 years I’ve been hit by 2 cars and 3 cyclists (and even once by a teen on a skateboard), but NEVER by someone walking or jogging. We need to get rid of wheels. 😉
Getting hit 5 times in 15 years? I’m sorry to hear that and I hope you never have to deal with that again.
That being said, fool me once shame on you, fool me five times…
Sure, I was ‘fooled’ by cars and cyclists speeding and losing control and running lights, and going around buses making turns, and plowing into crosswalks full of pedestrians. Just for the record, I have no ‘while I was talking on my phone and not paying attention…’ stories to share.
Bikes are vehicles & have a greater responsibility than pedestrians, just as autos have a greater responsibility than both bikes & pedestrians. Bikes ridden at safe speeds can avoid hitting all but the most unmindful of walkers & joggers, but too many bicyclists ride the Park drives as if they’re competing in the Tour de France, putting other bicyclists, as well as pedestrians (especially children & the elderly) at risk.
The issue isn’t speed, it’s failure to yield. Cars going 40mph are completely normal to people, but a bike that’s 1/20th the weight moving at 25mph is somehow scary.
The real difference? Cars stop at lights; bikes don’t always do so.
And, you know, I’m ok with bikes not stopping at every light IF THEY YIELD to pedestrians when it’s the pedestrians’ turn. I’m also a cyclist, and do so, and while it might every now and then negatively impact my, uhh, “strava segments,” it’s really not that hard.
And I can’t tell you how many times I have to deal with people casually walking across the roadway against the light or where there is no light, ignoring what’s going on around them.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Wendi. I too ride my bike in Central Park and I actually shriek at cyclists that are not obeying the rules because they are ruining it for the rest of us. That said, every single time that I ride my bike – be it in the Park or on the roads – there are pedestrians, headsets on, ear buds in, walking against the light and paying NO attention to anything other than their phones and that is wrong as well
whatever happened to pedestrians have right-of-way?
Pedestrians only have the right of way in certain circumstances, even though many believe it is a constant. A pedestrian in an unsignalized crosswalk will always have the right of way as long as an oncoming vehicle could conceivably stop in time for them. In a signalized crosswalk, the pedestrian only has the right of way if they enter the crosswalk with the signal in their favor. Pedestrians entering without the signal do not have the right of way and someone crossing without a crosswalk never have the right of way. Note, there is a such thing as an unmarked crosswalk, but this requires an intersection and other factors.
This is what the law actually says. I suggest reading it before using the blanket statement of “Pedestrians [always] have the right of way.”
Wendi, I am a cyclist and have witnessed much the same as you, but with the addition of pets off leashes and pedestrian traffic paying more attention to their smart phones than their surroundings.
You’ll get no agreement to that on this forum though, as they are mostly a cyclist-hating bunch. I have never, in my experience here, seen folks be proponents of EVERYONE obeying the rules, especially pedestrians and pet owners. It’s always the evil cyclists fault.
I agree that ideally everyone should follow the rules. I would be happy to wait for the red light (with my always leashed dog btw) except rarely do the cyclists stop for it. And if I shout something, the nastiness and sarcasm that comes back at me is ridiculous. I once yelled, it’s a red light as the cyclist almost ran me down and he shouted, I’m so glad you’re not colorblind! So what’s the point of waiting for a red light—my only option to get across the drive is to use good judgement about waiting for the right moment.
How fast could the cyclist have gone for you to shout something at them and then have the ability to still hear the retort?
I think all will agree the cyclist was going under 80mph.But at 60 you could still hear the shout. Cyclists never stop at the lights and in these columns always blame pedestrians for their ill behavior. It’s the same with motorcycles. You’re 32x more likely to die on a motorcycle than in a car but people still want to ride them without helmets.
Just own up to your bad behavior. If you can’t be courteous at least be honest.
What about enforcing the laws in the bike lanes on the streets??? This resolution seems too narrow to me. These are also the same folks who sit on the boards of the Transportation Alternative groups…once again narrow minded and self serving with regard to only focusing on Central park…
The one upshot about Central Park now is that there are NO horse carriages… maybe the board should focus on that instead and pass a resolution to ban them as the roads are a lot cleaner and you can actually smell the flowers!
Even without all of the traffic the streets have been frightening because the bikers just ignore most rules of the road most of the time!
Try crossing 78th and Columbus. Even if I look 3-4 times when I have the light I get close to the bike lane on the east side of the street and can’t see the speeding “recreational vehicles” coming out from under the scaffolding until it’s too late. I’ve had so many near misses – one of these days it will be a tragedy!
Could not agree more. I stopped walking on streets in the park 10 years ago. But I’ve clipped by bikes on Amsterdam three times. Bike lanes don’t help as so many cyclists shoot the wrong way and ignore traffic signals. My head needs to be flipping back and forth like I’m watching a particularly fast tennis match and STILL not fast enough.
Finally. Sanity comes to Community Board 7. Thank you!!!!!
It’s a start. We’ll take it. So refreshing to have common sense prevail. Even if it helps just a little bit, walking in the Park will seem doable again. Very grateful to have our voices heard.
The Park has been extremely crowded around 7PM this week, as people try to get a last hour of exercise and activity in before the 8PM curfew.
Yesterday, I observed the following: a group of pedestrians, including elderly persons and people walking dogs waiting near the crosswalk at West Dr. and W 90th St entrance, for the traffic light to change so that they could proceed to the Bridle Path.
When the light changed, two bicyclists slowed to a halt observing the light, so that the group of pedestrians (who were not together) could cross. A skater using poles came barreling over the hill at a high speed and did not even slow for the red light, narrowly missing two of the people in the group, passing extremely close just behind them.
A police vehicle sitting nearby did not respond.
Using the Park always carries some element of risk, but it is currently particularly dangerous due to crowding, failure to observe safety and traffic laws by various users, and failure to enforce traffic laws by the Park service, and NYPD.
And it is galling for some so-called cycling ‘advocacy’ group to minimize reckless behavior using the excuse of “current circumstances”.
We all understand that the NYPD is stretched, possibly over-extended at the moment. But once past the current crises, there should most definitely be stepped up enforcement of: dogs off leash; and reckless, heedless, and dangerous behavior by cyclists, skaters, bladers, skateboarders, e-cycles, and the recent proliferation of electric scooters. Pedestrians should also be cited for dangerous behavior, but let’s be honest, a person walking is more vulnerable, and less capable of causing damage.
Make the park SAFE for ALL users.
As a cyclist, that burns me harder than just about anything else I see. If I’ve stopped for pedestrians and you come up from behind me and don’t, then not only do you endanger people, you make everyone — including me — wait for you, because you’re too selfish to wait your turn. If you’re a cyclist and you see other cyclists stopped for pedestrians, you’ve GOT to stop. The people who don’t are dangerous jerks.
Well said, this always burns me up too.
Ditto. But ALL cyclists are horrible. Right? The fact that WE always stop for pedestrians must mean we dont exist. Except that all the bicycle haters on here will just say that we are lying because it doesnt fit with their belief that ALL cyclists are menaces.
How about if we start with getting them off the sidewalks. Stand at any street corner and watch any cyclist most, if no all, will break the law before they are out of sight.
Here we go again. Pickk your favorite: (A) Pedestrians are victimized by cyclists who blatantly violate traffic rules and intimidate and endanger them; (B) Cyclists constantly have to deal with pedestrians who ignore common sense rules and endanger both themselves and cyclists; (C) There are enough pedestrians and cyclists who are both selfish and careless to ensure that this problem will never be adequately solved. (At least there are no more cars or we’d have more choices.)
I am glad the laws will be enforced. Hopefully police will use common sense in their enforcement. “Training rides” in Central Park are not a right for cyclists, regardless of the time of day. I’m really sorry that you might have to slow down at some point. I know many cyclists who ride across the GWB then they have plenty of room.
I do agree with the cyclist community that there should be a similar way to make pedestrians be respectful as well. I wish there was a way to make it impossible to look at a phone while you are moving (walking, biking, driving, whatever). If I had a nickel for every person (pre-covid) who bumped into me on the sidewalk, subway platform, stairs, or anywhere else while staring at their phone, I would be a very wealthy person. If you need to look at your phone for more than a second, stop and step aside, out of other people’s way.
Pedestrians are grateful for any relief we can get during the pandemic. Central Park is our backyard, too and the only place for many of us to get respite and fresh air. So happy Community Board acknowledged this and has taken our safety into consideration.
It’s about time. Cyclists have gone from being a lawless nuisance to a legitimate hazard.
Where’s the cross town path that was supposed to happen?!?
Yes! Perhaps reduce the speed limit too.
Thoughts from a licensed guide who conducts walking tours of Central Park:
Motorized bikes, scooters, skateboards are a major menace. They do NOT belong on the park drives. The cops should impound them and make their owners pay to get them back at the pier where they tow cars.
I see a lot of landscape getting damaged by off road riding. Cops and rangers need to pay more attention.
Flashing yellow lights might make more sense at low-traffic intersections on the drives, with red-green retained at high-traffic.
Crossing the loop is trivial. Make eye contact and stay on your trajectory at your own pace. Cyclists will go around you and not hit you. I cross multiple times daily with no issue.
Bikes are not cars. Obey the laws of physics.
Pedestrian? No way. Good try.
Nice idea theoretically, but you’re not taking into account the Tour de France wannabes. :/
It’s never the cyclists fault. When a car is involved, it’s the driver. When a pedestrian is involved, it’s the pedestrian.
Cyclists in NYC are dangerous. Very few cyclists obey ANY traffic laws, therefore this is not a generalization. The cyclists who obey laws are the exception.
It’s about time that cyclists get regulated. Pay license fees like drivers have to otherwise don’t use the roads for free.
It’s really amusing how the cyclists are now on the defensive against pedestrians. Not such a great feeling now that the shoe is on the other foot, is it?
Yes, this! Bikes are subject to traffic laws and should be licensed just like a car. Run a red light, go against traffic, ride on the sidewalk – get a ticket by mail.
I’d love to know more about the Parks Enforcement Patrol and their scope of responsibilities / enforcement powers. Central Park is entering the crazy busy/overpopulated season, aside from Covid and curfews, and it is worth extra encouragement of civil behavior. But in line with an approach of letting NYPD focus on bigger priorities/ keeping their to do list shorter / showing that communities, especially ones that aren’t exactly suffering, need to step up and utilize other ways to regulate being safe in public….this sounds like a great area of focus for the Parks Enforcement Patrol (not that I have ever heard of it before now, so apologies for writing in ignorance).
Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) are sworn peace officers who have most of the powers of Police while on the job, but are not armed. The vast majority of what they handle are parks rules rather than codified laws. A summons from PEP would typically be handled by OATH (formerly Environmental Control Board) rather than the court system.
The dichotomy is usually simple: NYPD enforces all criminal offenses and any civil offenses that are law, while PEP enforces Parks Dept rules and regulations, which are not laws. For example, NYPD officers never write tickets for riding on a path in Central Park, because this is a park rule rather than a city law (which is why it can be so easily changed to make a bike path across the park, for example).
On Thurs, around 4pm, I saw a guy using a moped in the Riverside Park bike path, going north past 83rd St. No was was anywhere to stop him
Cyclists ride too aggressively in the Park. I Cross the west drive at 102nd street. Cyclists are coming down the hill and they are going as fast as they can because there is an incline coming up. they don’t care if you are trying to cross. To top it off, there is a blind spot Where you cannot see the cyclists until they are almost on top of you. There needs to be enforcement!
Mille grazie Community Board!!!
There is perhaps a practical and lasting solution: install speed bumps in the immediate vicinity of all pedestrian crossings and traffic lights. Not itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie speed bumps but serious ones that will force all park users on wheels — cyclists, rollerbladers, and skateboarders — to slow down substantially. Over time they may acquire and even appreciate the discipline of using the park in a safe, non-threatening, and socially responsible way. And steadily alternating slowdowns and accelerations may increase the health benefits of a cyclist’s exercise without necessarily reducing the fun.
Speed bumps. Simple, inexpensive, effective solution. No need for enforcement by overworked patrols. Brilliant. Do it!!!
Sounds good. Bonus: relatively low-cost! And, I’m sorry, but for every ‘well-behaving’ cyclist I see, there is more than one, sometimes way more, being undeniably foolhardy and often just plain nasty. Btw, I have asked some of the people in my building who are daily cyclists about this very issue, and they are not big fans of the dangerous types either. (Who is?) It seems like it’s just a microcosm of humans in general, some are kind, some aren’t. No big surprise here. But as was said before so hilariously, haven’t been run into by a jogger yet!
Not just a complaint but a practical solution. Kudos.
There are 58 miles of paths in Central Park. https://centralpark.org/faq/ Cyclists are allowed on perhaps 7 miles of them. Additionally, pedestrians have many underpasses which enable a bike-free way to get across most areas of the park. How about sharing maybe 12% of the park with others? Is that too much to ask?
And require cyclists to be licensed, pass a test to obtain said license, and require cyclists to be insured. Cyclists should be ticketed for breaking the law, and have bikes confiscated if tickets are not paid.
Great idea, Deb! Let’s do that as well as making pedestrians do the same thing: let them be fined every time they walk against a light, their heads down lost in their phones and paying NO attention for what is going on around them. You cannot lay this only at the cyclists feet – pedestrians not following simple rules of consideration happens MUCH more often then cyclists running red lights
Great idea!!! How can we move this solution forward to the right people who will act?
It is time to stop them on red light! They never knew how to share the road.
How bout speed bumps? Bicyclists in the park ride with no regard to pedestrians. Putting speed bumps at crosswalks would slow down these inconsiderate morons and still allow people to cross the roads safely and enjoy the park.
Yes!!!! Speed bumps!!!!
This is ridiculous. They allow motorbikes, baby strollers, acrobats and what not on a bike path. They allow city bikes to go wrong direction, to block the lanes, to stop as they wish. They put red light everywhere for bikers to obey as if they were just walking around on their bikes. And they discipline no one but the cyclists. Unbelievable.
I can’t even remember when I have seen a cyclist stop at a red light in the Park, and I’m there walking my dog daily. I dared to wait and cross when I had a “walk” signal, and a biker flew by, almost hitting us, and also felt the need to yell at me and curse. It’s unbelievable and incredibly dangerous. Yes, I am sure there are complaints to be made about pedestrians and off-leash dogs at all hours. But stopping at a red light, not riding in the narrow pedestrian paths, and obeying traffic rules, rather than treating the routes in the middle of a public park like you’re on a private racetrack, should be a given and enforced.
Walking on the promenade next to the boat basin around 72nd street there are numerous new bike entrances (Yellow signs saying NEW) Cyclists come off Riverside Drive at such speed and converge with pedestrians I almost got hit several times. Accidents waiting to happen. I am afraid to walk down to Riverside Blvd. PLEASE FIX THIS
Thanks for quoting me in the article. My attempted amended resolution called for enforcement of cyclists riding dangerously that put pedestrians at risk, rather than all cyclists. We have seen previous general calls for enforcement lead to ticketing blitzes against slow-moving cyclists that go slowly through red lights after checking and ensuring that no pedestrians are nearby (easier to catch), while having no impact on high speed cyclists riding recklessly. Also, we know that NYPD can’t and won’t ticket cyclists for speeding (which is an unfortunate reality, but judges throw out speeding tickets against cyclists as bikes don’t have speedometers), but included it in the resolution anyway. CB7 really missed the mark here (my personal view).
No Motor bikes in the park. Stop renting Citibikes to people who don’t obey bike rules. Jaywalking. Running clubs hogging bike paths. I’ve been riding in the park for 30 years. Some common sense please or bikers get punished for general stupidity.
What about the bicyclists on Riverside Park Promenade and pedestrian walkway by the Hudson River 72 St- 119 st?
They bicycle at high speed without using a bell or a whistle etc to alert pedestrians that the are behind them.
I’ve been nearly knocked down twice by bicyclists weaving in and out or speeding. Why should i need to walk way on the side of the walkway on a beautiful day for fear or being hit? Bicyclists need to be regulated in those mostly pedestrian/family walking areas.
Because when you don’t walk to the side on a beautiful day, you create the environment where cyclists are forced to weave around you, try to anticipate whether you will veer right or left when they just want to get away from you quickly. You also create an environment where a cyclist has to bike around you into oncoming bikes going in the opposite direction. This is why people cause more cyclists to collide or fall off their bikes than bikes hitting people. It’s like driving…for both cyclists and pedestrians…stay right and pass from the left, If you are in the middle Louise…the cyclists doesn’t know if they should pass you from the right or the left because if you start walking diagonally in either direction and the cyclist guessed incorrectly…they get thrown off their bike and and can get seriously hurt not to mention all the danger you have then created for all the other pedestrians who are then in harms way.
Because it is a shared path. While cyclists are looking out for you, you need to be paying attention and looking out for them. If everyone paid attention, rather than expecting everyone but them to do so, then everyone would be fine.
Netter do it quick before the police are defunded!
Now the board needs to expand that to flagrant disregard for traffic laws on the street. The park is only the beginning. Try crossing Columbus Avenue or Broadway. And in truth the bike lane on CPW should come down. It was put there in response to a bicyclists death when she veered out of the bike lane, into the traffic lane, to avoid a bus that was moving to the curb. That is still an issue – its is just that the bus now has to cross the bike lane. There should be no bike lanes on two way streets and certainly not on two way streets with bus service.
We need to implement structure to control the situation:
1. Ban ALL motorized vehicles from the park including bikes, scooters, mopeds etc
2. Recognize that more intensive training/exercise activity takes place during early morning hours and establish a time period for that to occur. Then, declare the rest of the day to be for “recreational” activity
3. Declare Exercise/Training hours between daylight and 8am. Then put all traffic lights on “blink” with the road side being yellow and the cross-walks being red
4. Put up comprehensive signage. At all crosswalks say “Training Session Daylite-8AM. Look both ways for joggers and high-speed cyclists”
5. Declare all other times as “Recreation Time” with significant signing saying “Cycling Speed Limit 10 MPH during 8am to Sunset” on the roadway.
6. Add significant signage at crosswalks etc saying “Look Both Ways Before Crossing Roadway”
7. Establish a dedicated NYPD or Parks enforcement team to enforce motorized vehicle ban and reduced speed limit for cyclists during Recreation Time
8. Reline the road
My god you would think in the current climate people would recognize stereotyping! Replace the word cyclist with the name of a minority group in any of the anti-cycling rants below and ask yourself how it sounds. I am a cyclist who cycles defensively. I would have trouble believing any cyclist wants to hit you. Yes people should follow the rules. But stop creating enemied lists please.
For several weeks, I’ve now been frequenting the park daily when weather permits entering at 72nd street. At times, you are literally taking your life in your hands when crossing the bike lane on a green light. That there haven’t been fatalities is a miracle. This is not to condone jay walkers, joggers, etc. who ignore the rules.
How do so many countries have cycling as major transportation, but in NYC it’s always how bad the cyclists are? I’ve been almost maimed by many more cars than cyclists in the 25 years I have lived here. So disappointing!
Be alert and respect others.
cyclists by and large refuse to follow traffic laws and yet cry holy hell when one gets hit by a vehicle
Pedestrians don’t look both ways or wait before crossing either. It’s a lot easier for a pedestrian to stop walking for a moment and wait until itnis clear to cross than to expect a cyclist to come to a screaming halt disengage feom the bike pedals to a complete stop for one person to cross the street.
I just wanted to add that Lance Armstrong wears Lycra in the Tour de France.
why target only cyclists? What about the pedestrians who also break the laws? It’s funny that speeding is mentioned, how is a cyclist supposed to know how fast they are going? I’ve not seen any bikes that come standard with a speedo.
I don’t think pedestrians understand the difference between operating a car which you sit in and hit the breaks and vehicle stops vs. cyclists who often have clip on shoes, but also are balancing on the bicycle, Coming to a quick stop can be very dangerous or really just a pain in the beck. It’s a lot easier as a pedestrian….which we all are daily, to stop walking look both ways and wait a second or two for a bike to pass than to expect a person biking even 15 mph to come to a stop. If the cyclist is wearing biking shoes and clipped into their pedals this becomes exponentially more complex to do quickly when really a person walking can just stop walking for a moment and be on their way merry way.
I’m both a pedestrian and a cyclist and I pedestrians create more danger for cyclists hands down. They do pay attention and they mistakenly believe they have the right of way in all circumstances and they don’t.
Part of the issue is the semantics of signage stating “Yield to Peds” and “No Bicycles Please Dismount”- the first distorts expectations that Peds can just wander like idiots into the middle of bike paths or shared paths with no awareness of anyone but themselves. The second, “No Bicycles Please Dismount” – is great for Peds only areas but for sections of paths meant for bikes and Rollerblades don’t strongly convey that Pedestrians should go walk somewhere else like the alternative Peds only path which is usually less than 20 ft away.
Peds complaints are a joke to me because all anyone has to do is go get a citibike and go bike inna park where you walk and within 5 minutes you will never walk oblivious to cyclists again. Cyclists are pedestrians so we know y’all aren’t paying attention.