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Watch Out For Cyclists!

The Sea
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Watch Out For Cyclists!

Hi: My husband and I were strolling through Central Park and crossed one of the streets inside the park across the crosswalk. A bicyclist camethisclose to wiping out me and another woman walking with a baby in a carriage.

We looked both ways before crossing and were in the crosswalk but this guy came out of nowhere and he was flying. He never slowed down. If he'd hit us we'd have been hospitalized. Was there anything I could have done to be more safe?

What're the rules for bicyclists and pedestrians in Central Park? Thank-you.

New York, NY
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1. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

The rules for bycycles, often ignored by bycycle riders, are the same as for cars. If you are crossing with the light you have the right of way, but be careful, as i said, the rules are often ignored by cyclers.

Brooklyn, NY
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2. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

Pedestrians should not cross the cycling paths if they cannot see around the bends to see who's coming. If he had hit you, he would likely have been hospitalized with far worse injuries than yours: being thrown from a bike is extremely dangerous.

In general, the crosswalks in Central Parks apply to cars using the roads at designated times. The rest of the time, the right of way goes to the pedestrian or cyclist going ON the road, not the one crossing it. This is the rule as it is followed, and as it is generally understood by those in the park. I know the written rule is different, but when you're crossing in front of somoene going 40 MPH, it's worthwhile to know what he's expecting you to do. It's important to be careful when crossing the bike and running paths, and to be courteous of the people using those paths for speed work.

As long as we're talking about bicyclists, I'll put in my plug again for paying attention when you (not you, Waterbug: the general you) are walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a pedestrian path, and a bicycle path. Pedestrians regularly step backwards into the cycling path when taking pictures: a good friend fo mine shattered his arm recently when a tourist did exactly that, and walked into him without looking. He vaulted over the handlebars of his bike. You can kill someone that way: please please please be careful.

Edited: 13 September 2010, 20:47
new york city
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3. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

I agree with you waterbug--- the bikes are a menace to our safety and the more they are dressed up in their little racing suits pretending to be Lance Armstrong the worse they are. If you are walking with the light --- yes there are cross lights in the park and someone comes flying down you best get out of the way but then as they pass yell as loud as you can in hopes of shaking them back into reality.. if they fall then they were going too fast. It really is one of my pet problems in this city.

Brooklyn, NY
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4. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

I always have to laugh when I read that riding a bicycle in NYC is the same as driving a car. When was the last time you saw a car race by another car on a single lane street? Bikes don't travel at the same speed as a car. So try to ride a bike down a lane of the expressway or any busy street for that matter. Cars just simply wont let you .... so you're forced to ride on the side. Bikes have the same right of way as a car ..... but who wants to test that theory in a game of chicken? Besides, getting hit by a car is lethal ..... but getting hit by a bike is likely not gonna kill a pedestrian.

DON'T HATE ..... PARTICIPATE !

Edited: 13 September 2010, 20:55
Memphis, TN
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5. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

This is a tough issue because there are always going to be a few people (cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike) who seem to think that they can do whatever they want. In the park, the cyclists and runners generally have the right of way, but they have responsibilities too. If this cyclist was really going so fast that you barely had time to react, then he was probably at fault.

Brooklyn, NY
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6. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

I think there's a distinction to be made between cyclists who go too fast on city streets, and those who go "too fast" in the designated cycling paths in the park. If a cyclist can't get a workout in the designated cycling paths, then where exactly are they supposed to go? I agree that everyone has to pay attention, but I would disagree that there is something wrong with a cyclist going as fast as they can in the one place in the city designated for them to do exactly that. To call a person bicycling in the bike lane at the park a "menace" is a little over the top, in my opinion.

Memphis, TN
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7. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

Actually, BrooklynBrdge, I'm afraid that you're wrong. Following are some of the official rules from the Central Park website:

Pedestrians have the right of way at all times.

At crosswalks, cyclists must slow down, yield to pedestrians and then proceed cautiously.

Cycling is prohibited on all pedestrian pathways.

Cyclists are required to obey all traffic laws, such as traffic signals, stop signs, and a maximum speed limit of 25 mph, though it is recommended they travel at a speed appropriate to their surroundings.

Here's the link: centralparknyc.org/visit/…bicycle-riding.html

Brooklyn, NY
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8. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

I'm not wrong. As I said, the rules as I stated them are the rules as followed, not the rules as written. I am very well aware of what cyclists are technically supposed to do in the park. I am also aware that the generally understood procedure in the park is that those going on the road get the right of way. I don't want anyone, be it myself or a tourist, to try to insist on following the written rule in the face of a cyclist going downhill who thinks he's following the rule as generally understood. That's a recipe for disaster.

Ultimately, I think the best answer here would be for us to finally build more designated and separated bike paths around the city so those people who want to train can do so safely. For the time being, I agree that everyone has to pay attention, and it's in everyone's interests to not cross the bike paths if you can't see down the straightaway.

For the record, I don't own a bike.

Edited: 13 September 2010, 21:19
New York City, New...
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9. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

As far as Im concerned, anyone on a bicycle is a menace. The ones in the park dont adhere to the traffic rules - the pedestrian basically has to run across the roadway even when the pedestrian has the light. The ones up on the sidewalk certainly dont adhere to the traffic rules.

"If he had hit you, he would likely have been hospitalized with far worse injuries than yours: being thrown from a bike is extremely dangerous."

Ive almost been mowed down more than once... I really dont care if the bicyclist who has hit me after violating traffic rules is more damaged than I am, if Im injured. And, Im suing their a** too.

Before I cross the street, I do everything I can to look every possible way to be sure no Massachussetts drivers are coming, no bicycles are coming, nd no Ambulettes are around (worse drivers ever!) - but it would be nice if the driver would take responsibility for their heinous actions.

new york city
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10. Re: Watch Out For Cyclists!

And I am talking about near the Delacourt theater where there are pedestrian walk lights and lights the other way that are routinely ignored by these people.

Where should they get their speed work --- frankly I don't give a dam--- maybe up in the back hills of the catskills. I was being nice when I said they were a menace . This false argument that the city designated the space for cyclists to go as fast as they want is what has caused the problem. If i am in control walking then they have to be in control-- and they never are... and these morons look at you like you shouldn't be there. Poppycock... go find a track somewhere if you want to go fast.