Bicyclist Hit and Badly Injured at Dicey Central Park West Intersection

Central Park West and West 65th Street. Screenshot via Google.

By Carol Tannenhauser

At 10:44 p.m., on Saturday, April 24th, a driver hit a bicyclist at the intersection of Central Park West and West 65th Street, according to the NYPD. “The driver was heading south on CPW, trying to make a left on West 65th, when he collided with the cyclist,” a spokesperson said. “The bicyclist suffered injuries to his head, arm, leg, and face. The vehicle had minor damage.”

An eyewitness who was walking on CPW at the time of the crash said the area was particularly dark at the time, because the nearest street lamp was “super dim” and the one next to it was out completely. She said the driver was in a black car and the cyclist was on a black bike and wearing a black hoodie — “how is anyone supposed to see anything?!”

“The bike ended up on south side of the street, the guy ended up 15 feet across the crosswalk on the north side,” she wrote. “Broken leg and arm 100%, and god knows what else.” She said she reported the lamp problems to 311 and was told it could take 30 days to fix. “I also explained to them that they need to implement a (traffic) light specifically for bicyclists at the transverse streets so that both cars and bicyclists don’t have the right of way at the same time (since those literally don’t exist at least on the 65th street transverse),” she wrote.

Crash statistics show that 65th Street has been the most dangerous intersection on Central Park West over the past two years, with five crashes and five people injured between March 2019 and March 2021.

Less than a week ago before this incident, on April 18th, a man was killed nearby, after police said he lay down on Central Park West between 62nd and 63rd Streets and was struck by a vehicle.

NEWS | 58 comments | permalink
    1. Sid says:

      “cyclist was on a black bike and wearing a black hoodie” – statements like these are victim blaming, and akin to asking a victim why they were wearing clothing to get them assaulted.

      • DavidS says:

        Isn’t it just common sense to wear high-visibility clothing if you’re biking after dark? You know, kind of like how hunters wear orange vests so that they don’t accidentally get shot?

      • Rides and Drives says:

        If there were some evidence that the driver was looking for a bicycle rider to hit you’d have a good point.

      • EdNY says:

        And suppose the driver was unable to see the cyclist? Did the bike have a headlight on? Whatever happened to common sense?

      • lynn says:

        I can’t imagine what your mindset is to jump on this as victim blaming when the witness clearly stated FACTS.

        Dark outside, dark car, dark bike, dark clothing. Dark = low/no visibility. No blame assigned to anyone!

      • Peter says:

        Of course. Why do we even bother with headlights, street lights, reflectors, etc.?! These are clearly just random frivolities and have zero effect on traffic.

        Make every car and bike matte black, every street a tunnel, turn off all electricity and let rush hour start after 10pm. Let’s see where we end up.

      • ben says:

        I fail to see how factually describing what the victim was wearing at the time is victim blaming. It may be *interpreted (incorrectly at that)* as victim blaming but facts are facts. Stop putting your own spin and agenda into the statement and trying to twist facts into something more than that.

      • tailfins says:

        That’s if there was some intentional crime. If someone got into a car accident and didn’t have their lights on, would it be “victim blaming” to report on that?

      • Bob says:

        I don’t think that comparison works at all.

        The type of assault you’re talking about is an intentional act whose sole cause is the criminal.

        A collision, by contrast, is usually unintentional, and thus may have many causes. One of the contributing factors here may be dark clothing — because you can’t yield to what you can’t see.

        By the way, I think we should establish a group to go around giving delivery guys free lights for that reason — they need them, but don’t seem to have them.

      • Carlos says:

        Are you kidding me? That is a critical piece of information. What the rider was wearing speaks to how visible they were. If you are riding at night, you should wear reflective gear – the reflectors on a bike are not sufficient.

        I am not 100% clear on the situation here but the biker did not help themselves by not wearing reflective gear and/or lighter colors. Sorry if this offends you.

        • Invisible Cyclist says:

          I suppose you have trouble seeing black cars at night as well. The sun sets and all of a sudden (POOF).

          These arguments are outdated logic. Speaking as someone that commutes to work by bike, frankly I’m sick of hearing it. I have three lights on my bike, a hi-viz helmet, and guess what…. in broad daylight I am still almost hit every other day. Please shine some LIGHT on that.

          Cars need to be held accountable. If a pedestrian is hit at night, no one asks if they were wearing black or had walking lights etc on them. Stop putting the blame on choices made by the cyclists. Is it possible their light batteries died? Did you read how far they were thrown from their bike? That isn’t someone taking the turn at a casual speed. Sometimes I’m biking home from work at that hour and even later along CPW. While I don’t enjoy being directly next to traffic, I at least feel safer than riding up along the hudson alone at 12AM.

          I think lights for cyclists in that lane could be useful but I agree there are many that will just fly through. Is the turning light a solid green or a flashing yellow? Perhaps something throwing a bit more caution to the cars as well could be useful.

          • Bob says:

            Black cars without lights are nearly invisible after dark, yes. That’s why you rarely see them with their lights off. (No pun intended.)

            Again, this isn’t some us versus them thing where cyclists should be demanding the right to dress like ninjas without facing any risk. We can all help each other by making ourselves as visible as possible — black cars shouldn’t be running with their lights off, and neither should bikes.

          • Anon says:

            Cars have reflective lights in all directions. Most cars have daytime running lights so there are always lights on when the car is running. More importantly, nobody blamed the victim by reporting what they were wearing.

            • Paul says:

              Thank you.

            • Matt H says:

              In the world that I’ve been walking, biking, and driving in, most cars or their drivers don’t seem to be running DRLs.

              With the new trend towards neutral colors in cars sold the last few years (blacks, dark grays, light grays, silver) a lot of cars really don’t stand out from bare asphalt on cloudy days. It’s a bit alarming IMO.

          • Patrick D Duff says:

            Thank you

      • Abe G. says:

        Since when is stating facts a bad thing?

      • Jan Lindemann says:

        This is horrible. I’m just hope cyclists reading this realize the importance of wearing light or reflective clothing at night. I read a comment that talking about the victim wearing black clothes with a blackout hoody is victim blaming. I disagree. Helmets and light clothing are simply sensible self protection.

      • wendy says:

        Wearing all black and riding on a black bike in the darkness, without a yellow vest or bright flashing lights on your person, helmet or bike is a recipe for disaster, as this incident demonstrated. This is not victim blaming, but stating the obvious facts. In Denmark, for example, it’s a ticketable offense to ride at night without lights.

      • Michael Zdyrko says:

        No, not victim blaming. I walk my dog after dark, or just go out for a walk, and I am often having to dodge cyclists coming out of nowhere , all in black, no lights, nothing. Sometimes they yell at you to get out if the way. And, by the way, I am both a bike rider and a driver in Manhattan. The police provide NO traffic enforcement whatsoever, bikes or cars.

    2. Carter P Waters says:

      I remember leaving my home at 65CPW in 1969 and heading for my private school on the east side. On this morning, my mom was driving us so we wouldn’t have to take the bus. We headed South and as we got to 65tn street and CPW we had the left hand turn green arrow into the transverse. Unfortunately, a Dolly Madison ice cream truck didn’t see he now had a red light and broadsided us. Our car was totaled but none of us were hurt and te driver gave us plenty of ice cream as we waited for the tow trucks!

      Accidents happen and always will and no amount of engineering or street redesigns is going to stop them.

      • J says:

        There are countless examples of dangerous intersections that have been redesigned to higher standards and brought incidents down to zero. Basically all of Sweden. Queens Boulevard in NYC. It’s very possible to make the roads safer with evidence-based solutions. Throwing your hands up and accepting people being killed and maimed on a regular basis as a normal occurrence is a pretty cruel attitude toward human life.

    3. Sid says:

      It should be “laid down” Lied refers to the past tense and past participle form of lie when it means “to make an untrue statement.”

      • Carol Tannenhauser says:

        You’re right. Thanks.

        • J.B says:

          The subject in this sentence lowered himself, and not an object, to the ground, so I’m fairly sure the correct usage in this case is “lay down” and neither “lied” nor “laid” ( because “lay down” is the past tense of “lie down”.

          • Julia says:

            Yes, it is lay down. You also could say he “laid his body down,” but that’s a little weird.

        • Debby says:

          Actually, it should be “lay down.” Love your reporting for WSR!

      • sudden_eyes says:

        Copy editor here. It should be “police said he LAY down.” “Laid” only works if it read “police said he laid himself down.”

      • Boris says:

        Grabs a bag of Lays chips and sits back to watch this grammarfest.

        • JL says:

          Lay off…

          Lay lady lay by Bob Dylan (Nobel Prize in Literature)
          Lay down Sally by Eric Clapton (a Brit) are both incorrect.

          • Carrie says:

            “Lay that pistol down, Babe, lay that pistol down. Pistol packin’ Mama, lay that pistol down.”
            Now I lay me down to sleep, and pray the lord my soul to keep.
            The body was laid out in the parlor.
            She laid the packages on the table, and then lay down for a nap.
            The table was laid for dinner for four.

          • Phoebe says:

            LAYla, you got me on my knees, LAYla….

    4. Zach says:

      Glad the cyclist is going to be alright and this was not a fatal incident. I 100% agree there needs to be cyclist stoplights added on CPW. Southbound drivers on CPW have a green arrow at times and when going northbound and seeing no traffic coming across 65th they continue to proceed on a red light, when southbound drivers have the green arrow.

      On the other hand, however, I’d say that 99.8% of the time cyclists just ignore the lights to begin with and even with a walk signal I fear being myself or my dog being slammed by a bike every time I cross the street, many times in the wrong direction.

      • Stu says:

        I cycled through that intersection almost every day for years. Cyclists always wait at the red light at that intersection. Always. You have got to be nuts not to.

    5. Matt H says:

      The street imagery in the article seems to be obsolete, it predates the protected bike lane conversion project on CPW.

      My 2c is that this intersection would work better as a small traffic circle, with the caveat that the southbound lanes would have to be reduced from 2 to 1 in the leadup.

      It would be interesting to know if the cyclist was using an illuminated head and taillight (as is required after dark), and if they were riding northbound or wrong-way southbound. With some implications for relative culpability.

      • UWSdr says:

        Agree with you Matt, but it would also be interesting to know if the car had their lights on and was making a legal turn at a normal speed. My concern is that all the focus is on the bicyclist when the person in the car is both better protected and operating a vehicle that can cause much more harm. I love the idea of a traffic circle but its rarely a solution in the USA.

        • Matt H says:

          @UWSdr – yep, I agree.

          It’s likely at that time of night that the driver’s headlights were on — though not a foregone conclusion. It seems likely that the light was green. Beyond that, anyone’s guess.

      • Phoebe says:

        So now we’re going to place blame on to his relatives? What ever happened to personal responsibility?

      • Scott Schaffer says:

        Isn’t there a bike lane depicted in this photo?

    6. RAL says:

      That is a particularly dangerous turn when you are headed straight up CPW – bike or car – cars coming south making left turn try to do a quick turn in front of you – driving or on a bike – i always slow down when going north until I know the intent of the driver making the left so this doesn’t; happen. There should be a left turn only light for those taking transverse going south

    7. zig says:

      67th and cpw is where the australian tourist was killed by garbage truck in 2018

    8. Nevets K says:

      An awful accident, and if recent reports are correct, I am glad the cyclist will recover.
      Still, these accidents are certain to occur in a congested, competitive, commercially driven city, protected electric bike lanes or not.
      My suggestion, as always: Take the bus or subway that, at least in Manhattan, almost always runs along the very
      same route as the “protected lanes.”
      Why be a victim of a failed experiment?

    9. John says:

      There is a left turn arrow so if the car waited for this, the bike was at fault as the car would have the right of way according to the law.

      • your_neighbor says:

        For southbound vehicles there is a flashing yellow turn arrow where the northbound vehicles have the right of way. After about 30 seconds of flashing yellow the arrow turns into a green arrow which gives southbound vehicles the right of way. We don’t know if the incident occurred while the arrow was yellow or green.

    10. Ellie says:

      Sorry, but bikers as well as car driver must obey
      Traffic lights and signals. In my opinion…which I have previously stated….many bikers completely ignore
      Traffic lights and rules. As a senior, I am often quite afraid crossing streets…even in daylight…due to people on bikes ignoring the laws!!

      • Matt H says:

        This a story about a cyclist getting seriously injured by a driver. There is no clear indication that the rider was riding in any way illegally or recklessly, though it is of course possible.

        Cue the peanut gallery: “Bikes scare me!!#!”

      • Josh says:

        Pedestrians must also follow the rules. In my experience, most pedestrians completely ignore crosswalks and traffic signals. As a cyclist and driver, I am often afraid to ride or drive in the city – even in daylight – due to pedestrians ignoring the laws!

        In reality, there is no fear as a driver because I am protected by metal armor. As a cyclist, a pedestrian stepping out in front of me could be dangerous, even deadly. As a pedestrian, I am afraid of both drivers and cyclists.

        Moral? Everyone breaks the rules. But the rules also need to be rethought, because they are written, for the most part, only with drivers in mind.

    11. Toni says:

      Bike riders need to take as many precautions as possible when riding at night. So many don’t seem to have good lights or reflectors.

    12. Jan says:

      how many more bike accidents need to happen
      before it is clear bikes will never work well in Manhattan?
      There is just not enough space on our streets
      I vote for Ban Bikes in Manhattan as the only humane
      solution
      Is our Mayor listening to all this?

      • Matt H says:

        Wait ’til you hear about deaths and injuries from car crashes even when no bikes were involved.

      • UWSdr says:

        In 2019 there were 218 total traffic fatalities, including 121 pedestrians and 28 cyclists in NYC, according to the DoT. So maybe we also need to ban pedestrians, too.

        • Josh says:

          People rob convenience store clerks at hun point A LOT, and often the clerks get shot in the process. Just makes sense to ban convenience store clerks. Oh, and lots of people get beat up because of their gender, religion, or ethnicity. Maybe we should…

    13. Cintra says:

      Maybe I’m paranoid, but I use to bicycle to my night shift job at 11:00pm. I would always have a bright reflective vest on. I also have a bright blinking light attached to the back of my helmet, and on the back of my bicycle. I might be a good driving bicyclist, but I don’t trust night driving motorist sometimes.

    14. Michael Percy says:

      As an avid cyclist over the past 50 years, I do as much as possible to make myself visible, always wearing bright colors and a high output LED taillight. To do otherwise, especially at night greatly increases your risk. A cyclist in dark clothing at night is almost invisible. It matters not at all how you assign blame if you choose to make yourself invisible. You will be the one injured.

    15. JL says:

      @UWSdr at 12.3
      Banning pedestrians would be silly, but pedestrians do need to take responsibility for their safety and wear high-vis yellow with industrial grade reflective stripes when walking in the streets. Firemen wear them on their protective coats even in the summer and they never get hit. Safety first.

      ‘It matters not at all how you assign blame if you choose to make yourself invisible. You will be the one injured.”

      Just common sense. Helmet laws for car passengers and drivers also. Since they’re incapable of driving safe speeds and can’t stop killing themselves and others. Accident waiting to happen, can’t believe it doesn’t happen 5x a day. Oh wait… it does.

    16. Duke says:

      Bike riding has become a way of life in New York, but bikes and cars have a hard time existing with each other. At many left turn corners bikes and cars both have the light. While bike riders have the right of way they seem to be impervious of cars and feel immune to injury. I feel crack down by police on bike riders is long overdue A bike going through a red light (or jumping off the pavement) must be met with fines given like a car running a red lightb