A Current Perspective

Bicycle safety...? What bicycle safety?

Updated 51 weeks ago David Stone
Bicycle riders on the sidewalk in front of PSD offices.
Bicycle riders on the sidewalk in front of PSD offices.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Coincidentally, just a half-hour before getting word from DOT that Citi Bike is coming to Roosevelt Island, without hitches, I witnessed some of the grossest misconduct by bike riders on Main Street to date. Couple what you're about to see with Public Safety's near total blindness to the issues, the result is trouble ahead.

Some readers chastised me for critical comments about bike riders on Roosevelt Island. I plead guilty.

I've seen the same egregious misbehavior just about everywhere I go in the City.

I've given up on walking through Central Park without having to dodge bicycles on paths where they're forbidden, many of them Citi Bikes. And I never cross a bike line without looking both ways. Many, maybe most bicycle riders in Manhattan ignore one-way street restrictions, and you can forget about traffic lights. They may be red, but you can't count on riders to stop for them.

So, it was an interesting coincidence yesterday, when Citi Bike issues made a positive landing, that I saw what I did in a very short period.

At roughly 1:00 p.m., I saw a squad of more than two dozen riders cruise Main Street without showing the slightest interest in the stop sign protecting the busy crosswalk in front of Good Shepherd Plaza. Kids and adults shared the same disdain for the laws, not to mention pedestrians.

Many of them didn't even bother to stay in their own lane, drifting out into oncoming traffic.

It went on for so long, I had plenty of time to bring out my camera and record. Here it is unedited.

 

At the top of the page, you can see the photo I took just seconds after the last bicycle rider in the group went out of sight.

Two riders use the sidewalk illegally, oblivious to pedestrians, side-by-side, taking up the entire space.

A big problem with both incidents: they happened directly in front of Public Safety's headquarters.

It's obvious that PSD's disinterest in enforcing laws designed to reduce cycling hazards is taken for granted.

Pedestrians beware. You are on your own on Roosevelt Island.

Finally, I wasn't quick enough with my camera to record it, but about a half-hour later, I watched a bike rider swerve into the oncoming lane to get around an MTA bus picking up passengers outside 40 River Road.

The bike rider raced straight through the crosswalk, ignoring the stop sign protecting it.

Buses drop off passengers here all day long. Entering the crosswalk, they need to be extra careful, watching out for lawless bicycle riders. In light of PSD's lackadaisical approach to safety, maybe Red Bus drivers can be instructed to issue a warning before opening doors near intersections.

I sent the evidence to Public Safety Acting Director Kevin Brown and RiOC President Susan Rosenthal. Neither responded by day's end. It wasn't the first time.

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