Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bicycle Rider Breaks Leg In Car Collision On Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp Monday Evening - RIRA Recommends Closing Helix Ramp To Bike Riders

A bicycle rider was injured in a collision with a car on the Motorgate Helix Ramp to the Roosevelt Island Bridge last Monday July 13.

A resident reported Monday:

I think someone got run over on the ramp to RI bridge.possibly a biker. I can just see lots of police/nyfd
A spokesperson for the NYPD 114 precinct said on Tuesday:
... in regards to the collision yesterday on Roosevelt Island. It occurred on Monday, July 13, 2015 around 6 PM ... According to the accident report, the vehicle was heading up the Roosevelt Island ramp in his lane and the bicyclist was heading down the ramp in the same lane as the automobile. The bicyclist was traveling in the wrong lane. They collided coming around the bend. The bicyclist did hurt what appears to be his leg from the collision and was removed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
There are conflicting versions of the July 13 bike accident on the Roosevelt Island Bridge Motorgate Helix Ramp. Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) Chief Jack McManus told me that the Bike Rider and Car were going up the ramp in the same direction when the car hit the bike rider from behind resulting in the accident and a broken leg for the cyclist.

Asked to explain the discrepancy in accident reports, both NYPD and RIOC PSD said they were relaying the information told to them by the car driver and bike rider.

The issue of bicycle safety on the helix ramp was discussed during the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) July 14 Public Safety Committee (PSC) meeting.

Image Of Bike Rider Coming Down Helix Ramp Yesterday (not the injured rider)

The PSC unanimously voted to recommend closing the Motorgate Helix Ramp to bicycle riders. If the Motorgate Helix Ramp is closed to bicycle riders, they would have to take the Motorgate elevators or staircase instead to exit and enter Roosevelt Island.

The decision to close the ramp to bicyclists is up to RIOC.

Last October, a Roosevelt Island resident was killed riding her bike near the bottom of the Helix ramp in a collision with the Red Bus.


YetAnotherRIer said...

Close the helix for bicyclists instead of enforcing road rules so both parties can use it? What a hell of an approach is that? Typical RIOC reaction to problem solving.

AGuyonRI said...

As often points out, NYPD has a history of stating the cyclist is the one at fault in an accident. I've been riding my bike up and down the helix for the past few years and I've never seen a cyclist on the wrong side of the ramp.

I also agree with both the posts- the answer isn't to limit the rights of cyclists who have the same right to be on the road. PLUS, it creates a much more hazardous condition to ask cyclists leaving the Island to get off the elevator and cross over two lanes of traffic, which can be very high volume in both the morning and the evening.

RIOC should have sharrows painted onto the ramp (as well as on Main Street). While not perfect, sharrows at least let drivers know that they are sharing the road, as well as keeping cyclists in the right location on the road.

Last but not least, and this has been mentioned before, instead of two separate bike lanes on the bridge, they should make one two-way bike lane on the bridge (on the southern side). The current lanes are very narrow, and this would also reduce the dangers of a cyclist having to cross over the lanes of traffic to turn onto the bridge from the dedicated lanes on Vernon.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Ms. Rabinowitz? Is that you?

Michael Rindler said...

As a bicycle rider and a car driver I

CheshireKitty said...

LOL! Poor old Mizz Rabinowitz, man! Always mockin' poor ole Jews, right - that's your thing, ain't it. Tsk, tsk, how very anti-Semitic!!! Oy vey!! What a bad, bad boy, Yet.

No, I'm not implying that cars have first dibs, but I am saying that security and safety must have priority - if we are going to have motorways in the first place. Why don't we have bike tracks on the railroad tracks and give cyclists priority over trains? Do you really think 20 cyclists should have priority over hundreds of train riders, or freight? I don't - neither does society - which is why there's no provision for bikes to "share" train tracks.

The way things are, a motorist almost can't drive down Vernon Blvd. anymore.. Is this what you want if there are fires or floods in Western Queens - firetrucks slowed down in order to gingerly maneuver around those concrete barriers, cause bikes hafta have *three bike lanes?!* Hell, no.

CheshireKitty said...

Then you should show up at committee meetings once in a while Mickey if that's how you feel. You weren't there so you didn't get a chance to speak or vote. That's your tough luck.

CheshireKitty said...

No, the idea is to make cycling safer on RI. the helix is narrow enough as it is. Did you know that the helix is closed to all other traffic when Cornell trucks travel over it? Cornell truck traffic occurs overnight; trucks arrive unload and the same process is followed for those large trucks to exit the island. That means the helix is too narrow to accommodate regular traffic + large trucks. Just add cyclists - or like today some a*****e jogger who obliviously jogged over the helix - into the mix. Do we need is for another cyclist, or maybe a stray pedestrian, to get hit to prove the ramp/environs isn't safe for cycling. Is that what you want?

The helix ramp wasn't designed for (pedestrians or) cyclists - was previously off-limits to cyclists. Making it off-limits to cyclists again is simply reverting back to the way it was originally planned.

CheshireKitty said...

Go to Europe then. Here in the US, many motorists prefer trucks or truck-like vehicles in case you haven't noticed.

As far as sharrows are concerned, most motorists do not drive over them if possible - thus they are driving closer to the center dividing line at all times whether or not there are cyclists on the road. The "sharrows" are seen as an inviolable bike lane and the typical law-abiding motorist is not going to violate the law by driving in the bike lane.

Because so many motorists drive trucks, the roadways are getting more dangerous as they are getting narrower and narrower with the encroaching sharrows, dedicated bike lanes, buffer zones, poles, concrete barriers, and so forth.

Soon there will be no more driving room - which is I suppose the ultimate objective of Ms. Trottenberg the DOT Commish.

Unfortunately, there is going to be push-back since at the very least we need to have roads that are wide enough and safe enough for emergency truck traffic (fire trucks and emergency/tactical police trucks/vans/buses and so forth) as well as for emergency management/mass evacuation in case of floods. I think safety is being traded away with the over-extension of bike lane "sharrows" "dedicated bike lanes" "buffer zones" "concrete barriers" "poles" etc. I object to the net effect - the slowing down of FDNY response time caused by the roadways rendered unsafe for many trucks, buses, and regular truck-like motor vehicles.

I certainly would not put "sharrows" on the helix ramp. That is all that we need to further narrow the roadway, which is narrow enough as it is.

Motorists and bicyclists have always understood that bikes keep to the right. You certainly do not need a "sharrow" bike lane to remind motorists or bicyclists of the need to keep to the right. Motorists steer clear of bikes as it is, given that riders may prone to unexpected moves, especially kids. This is a given - to leave plenty of space around bikes - and was always the practice without the need for "sharrows." I would say we were better off without the "sharrows" system - it's added nothing to bike safety but has made driving instead much more dangerous.

CheshireKitty said...

The helix was never designed to accommodate bike traffic. It was only relatively recently opened to bike traffic. It was a mistake to allow bikes on the helix ramp - bikes are supposed to use the elevator or the stairs in the garage. The ramp is hardly safe for two-way car traffic as it is.

Once, there was also the option of using the escalator in Motorgate to reach the bridge deck level but it's been in a state of disrepair for many years. The escalator could be removed and replaced with a large glass walled elevator, to better accommodate cyclists, wheelchair users, pedestrians with shopping carts, etc.

The current elevators in Motorgate are too small to easily accommodate even one cyclist & their bike, as they must somehow angle in. If there is more than one cyclist, they have to wait for subsequent elevators etc. If one elevator is down, then the wait is substantial. You also have shoppers - wheelchair users - so the elevators are inadequate, as waiting time is multiplied with all the users.

CheshireKitty said...

Message sent to BdB:
"The sharrows system and bike lanes taking over roadways are decreasing safety for fire trucks and tactical police trucks/buses/vehicles. FDNY response time will decrease with the decrease in road safety due to narrowing of roadways. Emergency services arrive in trucks. Please consider the needs of all the citizens to have prompt access to emergency services, rather than the needs of the hipster elite cyclists - who may or may not use the bike lanes anyway, since many of course use the regular roads nonetheless since use of the roads is perfectly legal for cyclists."

Islanderx2 said...

One only has to think of all of the laws on the books especially the DMV Laws, that were put there because people/drivers can not be trusted to act in a safe manner on their own. That is government protecting us from ourselves. Just as RIOC and the DPS have deemed it appropriate to safe guard the cyclists and the drivers of the vehicles, who will ultimately win any confrontations. So mushr00m, stay in the dark and feed on the manure, as all good shrooms do.

CheshireKitty said...

Maybe that is so; I'm just one person who has a problem with the way bike lanes are encroaching on roadways to the detriment of motorist - and inevitably/consequently - cyclist pedestrian safety, since there is practically no room to avoid oncoming traffic, bikes that may be in the roadway, or pedestrians if they step into the roadway. I guess none of this bothers you - I guess safety is not important to you. It is important to some of us though, and we will make our voices heard.

There is also the problem that the roadway barely can accommodate two lane traffic - the roadway is not just there for recreational purposes, it's an arterial road linking two bridges and also is needed for emergency access by emergency vehicles (trucks). I think the DOT has gone too far with the sharrows and the concrete barriers, the buffer zones, there is no room left for emergency vehicles if/when they might be needed.

I'm not opposed to bikes - but the world does not function as a walk or ride in the park. Real people have families, and need to transport them from place to place in cars/trucks - I have yet to see a family including several kids riding around on bikes each balancing grocery bags and so forth. Unless you think families shouldn't have a way of going places together in a motor vehicle.

Also, as I said elsewhere, bikes and the aged just do not mix, given that the risk to the aged from a fall/crash is much greater than to a younger person. This is a whole rather sizable segment of the population that the City will have a hard time luring onto bikes.

Also, people have always ridden bikes in NYC without sharrows or narrowing roadways to install bike lanes. What happened back in the days with no sharrows? Nothing - cyclists kept to the right and had to be alert to avoid getting doored, and motorists (usually) gave cyclists a wide berth. Of course cyclists risked their lives cycling - but if a cyclist was alert to their surroundings, ride safely, and so forth, nothing untoward would happen. A bigger risk than getting hurt in an accident was getting your bike stolen.

Unfortunately, bikes are risky to use in inclement weather and the rider, unless they buy specialized cold weather gear can get frostbite if they venture out in cold weather. It is dangerous to ride in the rain due to oil slicks. So if you factor in the rainy days, the snow/ice days, and the cold days, you are left with not many days it's actually feasible/safe to ride - at least in our rather cold climate. That's why it's frustrating to see the City spending millions on bike lanes, painting sharrows, and so forth, when in fact, cycling in the City is unsafe/unfeasible due to our climate for quite a bit of the year - the bike lanes are naturally empty quite a bit of the time, yet the motorists nonetheless are continually squeezed into narrower and narrower roadways, to accommodate bicyclists that just aren't there.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Always mockin' poor ole Jews, right - that's your thing, ain't it. Tsk, tsk, how very anti-Semitic!!!"

Aaaaand, you are still not getting it. What a surprise.

"... but I am saying that security and safety must have priority ..."

And one of the approaches for that is to have cars go up/down the helix not faster than a bike would go when there is one on the street. Michael above is right. Signage that warns of bikes on the street and to go slow could be a start.

"The way things are, a motorist almost can't drive down Vernon Blvd. anymore."

There is quite a lot of traffic on Vernon Blvd considering that one cannot use it anymore, according to you. Maybe there is something wrong with your driving?

YetAnotherRIer said...

I am surprised at your rather conservative views when it comes to bicycles. It doesn't really fit into your other POVs about social-economic classes.

"As far as sharrows are concerned, most motorists do not drive over them if possible - thus they are driving closer to the center dividing line at all times whether or not there are cyclists on the road."

This is absolutely not true. Try riding a bike down 2nd Avenue, for example, and cars use the lane with sharrows when needed. Yes, they tend to stay out of them, but they do use them when they need to turn. It works fine.

"Because so many motorists drive trucks, the roadways are getting more dangerous as they are getting narrower and narrower with the encroaching sharrows, dedicated bike lanes, buffer zones, poles, concrete barriers, and so forth."

So we have to keep educating the drivers and not let them get away with reckless thinking. Signage and more enforcement would be a beginning.

It's all about sharing the road. As you say, most bikes stay on the right anyway. Now the drivers have to learn to expect that a bike could be on the street and adjust speed and attention accordingly. It's not rocket science.

I have no idea how "Go to Europe" is a valid argument at all in this.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Making it off-limits to cyclists again is simply reverting back to the way it was originally planned."

As long as you give bicyclists another option beside walking down the steps or taking the elevator that would be all fine.

rilander said...

Remember the bike rider who was killed on Main Street last year? She had no lights, safety helmet and was riding in the wrong lane against traffic when she was hit by a red bus because she was in its blind spot.

While I love bike riding, there are too many bike riders who are clueless and lawless about traffic laws and do as they damn please, such as going against traffic, failing to stop at red lights, cutting in and out of traffic, etc. Therefore, if one is using the streets of our city for bike riding, they should have to take the same driver's ed as vehicle drivers, learn the traffic laws, take a test and post their license on the back of their bikes. I'm not saying you shouldn't ride a bike on the streets of the city, including the other boroughs, but if you are sharing the roads with other vehicles you should be held to the same rules.

rilander said...

Re: your big box store comment makes me think of a 70 year old woman riding home along Vernon Boulevard from Costco with a pack of 36 rolls of Charmin across her handlebars! That was what that Columbia University Transportation Study recommended!

Mickgirl said...

With Cornell Tech coming to RI, we are going to have more cyclists on the island. Signage is a start, but the bigger issue is influx of traffic & people. Has anyone addressed that? More Red Buses? More frequent Red Buses? Ferry? Eliminate parking on all of Main Street & add a shared bike lane? This is the bigger picture...more student population will mean more bikes, this should be looked at from a long term standpoint.