Manhattan Bridge Bike Path Crash Calls Consideration to a Rising Drawback
“The crash on the Manhattan Bridge calls consideration to the speedy want for visionary management in addition to tough conversations in regards to the objective of town’s valuable bike lane actual property, meals supply employee fairness and the function NYPD ought to play in imposing present guidelines.”
A number of high-speed motorized autos collided on the Manhattan Bridge bike path—the place each unlawful and authorized mopeds are forbidden—at round 11:30 p.m. on July 26, based onNYC. The publication known as the crash “horrific,” saying it underscores the “moped disaster.” 4 of the injured riders have been taken to the hospital.
Streetsblog additionally shared jarring pictures that included a pool of blood, the place apparently one of many riders concerned within the collision lay ready for FDNY to reach, by foot, as much as the spot the place the collision occurred.
The crash on the Manhattan Bridge calls consideration to the speedy want for visionary management in addition to tough conversations in regards to the objective of town’s valuable bike lane actual property, meals supply employee fairness and the function NYPD ought to play in imposing present guidelines.
The evening of the crash, emergency room nurse Lucas Freshman, whoon the scene proper by bike proper after it occurred, mentioned the carnage that evening was inevitable. “As shaken up by it as I nonetheless am, twelve or sixteen hours later, the unhappy feeling I’ve is that I’m not shocked by this taking place,” he .
As a long-time bicycling commuter who crosses both the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge on an virtually day by day foundation, I couldn’t agree extra. Maybe I’m rising previous and cranky, however my nerves are more and more rattled by shut encounters with fast paced, hefty-sized mopeds on slim bike lanes, not solely on the bridge paths, however all through town. The sheer weight and quantity of a moped makes them much more hazardous.
That mentioned, a growth in moped reputation may show optimistic for New York Metropolis commuters have been metropolis and state leaders prepared to spend money on avenue redesign that would carve out an area for higher-speed different transportation autos, together with mopeds.
Such transformative investments may doubtlessly get increasingly more folks out of vehicles and onto different transportation. Sadly, we’re most likely years away from that occuring in any really vital means.
For instance, the NYC Streets plan, which requires the Metropolis of New York to construct no less than 50 miles ofin 2023, has solely seen a paltry 9.7 miles put in this yr.
As most New Yorkers know, an enormous portion of town’s mopeds are being pushed by meals supply drivers who’re basically incentivized to drive as quick as doable. Revenue-driven apps akin to Uber, Door Sprint and Grub Hub pay, which implies the one option to take residence any actual cash is to make as many suggestions as doable.
It’s additionally most likely true that these supply staff, in addition to different moped riders who use them for transportation, really feel a complete lot safer driving on a motorcycle lane that’s considerably protected against vehicles. And moped riders can bypass vehicle congestion by scooting throughout the East River in a devoted bike lane.
At eight ft large, the two-way Brooklyn Bridge bike path actually solely has sufficient house for a single file line of bicycles in every course. The trail is far more slim than the 12-foot width outlined for 2 means bikeways by the. At 9 ft large, the Manhattan Bridge bike path is hardly spacious itself. And there are additionally loads of in regards to the Queensboro Bridge, the place 1000’s of pedestrians and cyclists share an 11-foot-wide, two-way path that’s additionally seeing a rise in high-speed moped visitors.
None of this diminishes the actual fact all three of these bike lanes are nonetheless much more secure than driving alongside two-to-three-ton, bone crushing vehicles in an unprotected bike lane or a avenue that has no bike lane in any respect. Cyclists are human eggshells on wheels when in comparison with an vehicle.
Nonetheless, it was a tragic day when the bliss I’d been feeling over the September 2021 opening of the Brooklyn Bridge acquired actuality checked by a too-close-for-comfort near-collision with a loud, fast-moving gas-powered moped—mainly a mini-motorcycle—that was erratically passing slower transferring bikes.
After yet one more shut name with a blazing moped, I vented my considerations to the cops who “patrol” the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge and requested them: why doesn’t NYPD appear to be doing something to handle the problem?
motorized autos akin to mopeds are unlawful on the bike paths, however there was little or no she may do, the officer mentioned. She advised me she wasn’t going to place herself at risk by standing in entrance of a fast paced mini-motorcycle. The officer additionally identified there is no such thing as a signage—not one signal put in by Division of Transportation (DOT)— that states mopeds are usually not allowed on the bike path entrance. The identical is true on the different three bike path entrances on the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
After the bloody Manhattan Bridge incident, clear DOT signage that clearly states mopeds aren’t allowed on bridge bike paths looks like a no brainer. However so too does extra proactive enforcement of the regulation.
Whereas a variety of metropolis leaders and activists rightfully blame grasping supply apps and Metropolis Corridor for not constructing higher e-bike charging infrastructure and wider bike lanes, the present hazard motorized autos pose on present crowded bike lanes is speedy, and can probably develop extra problematic with out constant enforcement of the foundations.
The better fear? We’ll see extra horrific incidents just like the July 26 Manhattan Bridge collision taking place once more in what is supposed to be a safer house for bicyclists.
Cody Lyon is a former journalist and a Manhattan Neighborhood Board 1 member.