26 August 2012

A Crash I Just Missed

I had just pedaled up the ramp on the Manhattan side of the Queensborough (a.k.a 59th Street) Bridge.  Two men and a woman, abreast each other,  spread themselves across the pedestrian side and into the side marked for bikes of the bike/pedestrian lane.  One of the men was stretching and craning his neck to snap photos of the city's skyline and the Roosevelt Island finiculaire; the other man and the woman were neither doing nor paying attention to anything in particular.  

As I had pedaled up the ramp from a dead stop at the bottom (courtesy of a man who was texting somebody and crossed into my path), I was riding slowly.  From the opposite direction, three young-looking, lycra-clad young men pedalled and spun at a much faster speed.  Still, I figured I had enough time and space to pedal around the photographer and his friends and that, by the time the three young cyclists were ready to ride around them, I would be well past the midpoint of the bridge.

My highly unscientific calculations proved to be entirely correct.  I was well past the photographer and his friends when the young male cyclists rode around them.  And I probably never would have thought about them, or the photographer and his mates, again.

But then I heard the thumping, clanging and clattering of metal and human flesh colliding as if sucked into a vortex or carbon fiber.  The cyclists were a few wheel lengths past the photographer and his travelling companions, but I don't think they had anything to do with the pileup.  To their credit, the male friend helped the cyclists--who didn't seem to be hurt--up.  I did a U-turn (fortunately, no other cyclists were approaching from either direction) and went to see whether the cyclists needed any help.  Two declined, and thanked me for my offer.  But the other, upon seeing that his bike was wrecked (It was carbon fiber.), punched and kicked the fence on the side of the bridge, picked up his bike and flung it. I got out of his way.

The bridge's lane is just barely wide enough for a couple of pedestrians walking abreast and a cyclist riding alone or in single file.  Plus, parts of the paving have been torn away (It's supposed to be re-paved), leaving half the width of the lane unusable for a significant part of the path's length.  That, at a time when more people are walking and pedaling across the bridge than perhaps at any time in its history.


  1. Did he fling the bike into the river?

  2. Chris--As soon as he started flinging his bike, I took off. But I didn't hear a splash, so I'm assuming he didn't toss it into the river.

  3. It certainly does happen. I once had a near miss on a bike path with another cyclist. Taught me a lesson. i was chatting with another cyclist.

    Glad you missed it and didn't get hurt.

  4. I hope you came out of it all right, Sue!