Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Punks on Bikes kill peds in New York

New York Times

In today's New York Times (In Central Park, Cyclists Still Compete With Pedestrians):

Police enforcement appeared scant on Tuesday on West Drive, near West 63rd Street, where Jill Tarlov, 58, was struck by a cyclist on Thursday. Most cyclists stopped for the red lights dotting the road, but others, joined by a pedicab or two, zoomed through, even when pedestrians were waiting to cross.

Some pedestrians described an increasingly hostile environment on the six-mile road, which is closed to car traffic in the middle of the day. In recent years, they said, the number of cyclists on racing bikes has grown, and those riders jockey with more leisurely cyclists, joggers, walkers, horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs.

“It’s a free-for-all,” said David Crawford, an opera singer, who was with his wife, Laura Wells, pushing their 2-year-old daughter in a stroller. “They need to have a barrier between the bicyclists and the walkers. It’s scary.”

Ms. Tarlov, of Fairfield, Conn., was walking through the park during a shopping trip to Manhattan. In the late afternoon, she stepped onto the roadway and was hit by a bicyclist, Jason W. Marshall, 31, who told authorities that he had swerved to avoid other pedestrians. Ms. Tarlov died on Monday.

In August, a 75-year-old jogger died on the other side of the park after being struck by a teenager who was riding on the pedestrian path, part of the loop road near East 72nd Street...

Jamie O’Reilly, a dog walker with two Labrador retrievers and a Catahoula in tow, said she was intimidated by the packs of racing cyclists.

“They are horrible,” she said. “They scream obscenities at tourists who have one foot in the road. They are like a gang”...

Some cycling enthusiasts said new electronic tools had increased the competitiveness of bicyclists. Two in particular, Strava and Garmin Connect, allow cyclists to track their average speed over a set distance and then to compare their times to those of other users.

“You can compete with someone without having to physically ride together,” said Ray Delgado, manager of Tread Bike Shop in Upper Manhattan. “It’s like, ‘Oh, this guy went around Central Park in five minutes, and I want to see if I can do it in four minutes and 55 seconds.’ ”

A follow-up story in the Times on Sept. 29.

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