a new, seasonal potential danger in Central Park

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Anonymous's picture

I was doing laps in Central Park tonight and, coming down the hill, just making the right turn by the rink, I ran into a wall of kids leaving the pool at closing time. There had to have been at least a hundred kids and they were all across the drive, walking south, up the hill. It was 7:00 PM and I had no idea that they were around the bend. They were not paying any attention to traffic. I almost lost control of my bike and hit one. Someone surely will.

Anonymous's picture
Sprint (not verified)
There Are No Accidents


Kids! In Central Park! On the roadway! How dare they!

You were, of course, within the 15 mph speed limit? (Which, by the way, came about as a result of hard lobbying by the NYRRC. You know, the Corporate Challange guys? In fact, they wanted it to be 10 mph, except that then the top NYC Marathoners might've gotten pulled over and issued speeding tickets on the East Drive!)

Bottom line: If you're doing your laps in the evening, expect anything and everything, 'cause believe me eventually you'll find it!

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
going nowhere fast

"Not so fast. The 15 mph speed limit was quitely dropped sometime ago. If memory serves me correctly, the 15 mph speed limit signs were removed at least 5-6 years ago from the park.

Show me otherwise.

A Guide for Sharing the
Drive in Central Park

""Speed limits pertain to all wheeled vehicles.""

That's straight from the horse's mouth - the central park conservatory.
Looks like one of the regular NYCC msg brd gadflys missed a bite. ;-)

Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
Speed limit on bikes in Central and Prospect Parks

I believe Peter is wrong when he states the speed limit on bikes in parks was rescinded. But I suppose it's easy enough to check by calling, for example:

Andrew Vesselinovitch, DoT Bike Coordinator: 212 442-9890
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe: 212-360-1307
Transportation Alternatives: 212-629-8080
Central Park Police Pct Public Affairs Desk: 212-570-0209

I don't recall ever seeing speed limit signs for bikes but the absence of such signs doesn't exculpate one for going over a speed limit.

It may be of some, mild interest for you all to learn the NYCC was a co-plaintiff, with TA, in a suit against the city (1991-93) for its imposing a speed limit. A side note: the CRCA refused to join as a co-plaintiff or even silently give financial help as they didn't want to risk the privilege they got/get from the Parks Dept. to race in darkness at 6AM in wintry cold.


Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
If not myth then mystery

"Perhaps rescinded was a wrong choice of word. I'll take you word for it that such rule is on the books. Although, I would be willing to take a gentleman's bet that if you took a poll of the DoT, parks commission, TA and Central Park police there would be at least few that are not aware that such rule exists (or did exist?).

Your awareness of such is a decade past involvement with the club in a lawsuit. For Anthony it is a sign that presents such presumably in a location where bicycle riding is not permitted. Again, I'm assuming such; Anthony jogged my memory to recall such limit mentioned on a small sign located on a path near the north end hill. It is worth noting the paths are clearly marked stating that bicycle riding is not permitted.

I reckon if a cop were to pull someone over or ""speeding"" a bunch of scorn by the cyclist would ensue. It's easy getting a parking ticket overturned for a missing parking sign, how would the same not apply for Central Park speeding or a defense like ""The bicycle lane became overrun with pedestrians, so I was riding out with the motor vehicle traffic and under the stated speed limit""?

Are bicyclists required to stop at a red light in the Park, too? When the park is open to motor traffic? Or not? If I'm running and pass through a red light, is it considered jaywalking? Does the 15mph rule apply to those using a skateboard or inline skates? With or without ski poles? If I pass through on a motorcycle or moped, must I ride at 15mph, too?

Maybe I am being a bit facetious in illustrating a point, that however well intentioned the 15mph rule is, why it is not well publicized and in turn an enforced rule is because it is riddled with pitfalls. (Just a guess.)

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
I think 15 mph still applies

Last time I looked, one day last year, the 15mph limit for bicylces still applied, according to the big sign on the 72nd St crossover on the west side - the sign that lists all the rules of the park.

I think the only time I'm under 15mph is on the uphill at the top end of the park, unless I'm going around for a leisurely, social ride, or a recovery ride.

I had no idea there was a speed limit until I looked at that sign after stopping with a flat tyre there.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Sopher (not verified)
Was there at about the same time

fortunately I heard them and was on the brakes but it was rather surprising. Still better than the stench from the horses on the lower loop. In fact I'd give JP Morgan 3 extra nights a year if they get rid of those damn carriages

Anonymous's picture
Chris (not verified)
Save the Horses

I must echo Michael's sentiments on the horse carriages. It is time to ban them. While not a member of PETA, most of these horses are in such poor shape that it is downright cruel to have them pull a carriage.
While some may say that it would remove a nostalgic charm to the city, try and think about the way these city streets would have SMELT 100+ years ago before the advent of the auto. Our nostrails have no conception of the odor.
This is one of the few plusses I give the automobile in the city.

Anonymous's picture
linda (not verified)
Horse drawn carriages

It definitely is time to ban them...but not because of your sensitive snoot. Your first thought was on target. It is incredibly cruel to have these horses labor through high heat & 100% humidity to pull a carriage full of sightseeing overweight tourists. I don't understand how this example of animal cruelty is legal in NYC.

And BTW the smell doesn't bother me...what does is some half-witted headphone-wearing Bob Fosse-wannabe rollerblader careening into my path so that I have to ride through horse manure in order to avoid pinning their un-helmeted head to the ground with my front wheel.

Anonymous's picture
frank (not verified)

roller bladers in nyc provide the best evidence that i know of that the theory of evolution could not possibly be true; otherwise they would all be dead given their various antics. oh well. perhaps, it is precisely the fact that we have evolved that causes me to refrain from running over these and other park users who insist on either (1) willfully not paying attention to what goes on around them or (2)assuming that their right to use the park trumps everyone else's.

Anonymous's picture
Vic Tim (not verified)
His head runneth over

"Please explain how you can ""run over"" other park users on your bicycle without taking yourself down as well. An old BMX trick, perhaps?

So nice of you to refrain from killing people who happen to be in your way while you're getting your ""training"" in in a crowded park."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
out of bounds

"Please explain how you can ""run over"" other park users on your bicycle without taking yourself down as well.

To see how it is done review the crash near the finish of stage 1 of the Tour de France. Specifically, a Euskaltel-Euskadi rider rode over one, maybe two fallen riders, and had remained upright on his bike. He's wearing a bright orange jersey, center screen. OLN replayed that crash quite a few times - all without the proverbial ""stunt performed by a professional rider. don't try this at home."" disclaimer."

Anonymous's picture
Vic Tim (not verified)

"Ah, but those riders were already down.

I can see how it's possibly to roll (or bunny hop) over a downed rider, but intentionally ""running over"" an upright rollerblader schussing across the road might be a tough one even for Hans Rey, no?"

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
Can't we all just get along....?

"The difference between Central and Prospect Parks is striking when it comes to how the users regard each other. I guess Central is so crowded that there is a lot of negative interaction between cyclists, bladers and runners. Prospect is not as crowded and we all seem to get along, except on nice evenings before they close the park to motor traffic and the competion for spce heats up.

Also, most bladers in Prospect seem to be speed skaters and not ""Bob Fosse-wannabes"". Their direction is more predictable.€t"

Anonymous's picture
linda (not verified)
other offenders

Some of the worst offenders are parents on bikes with mostly unsupervised children who are testing out their ability to balance on 2 wheels.

This should be an offense punishable by a fine, as it endangers both the child and cyclists in the vicinity. Riding 20 feet ahead of your 8 year-old (or younger),who has no conception of how to ride in a straight line or not to ride straight across the road, is crazy.

I try to keep an eye out for kids since they are so unpredictable. One Saturday, I started to pass a young boy who was riding pretty straight on the road, but just as I came up to him he careened to his right. Stupid me for instinctively yelling 'on your right' instead of 'hey kid get the hell out of my way'. In order to avoid hitting him I ended up hitting the curb so hard it popped me out of my clips, and I went flying. What kills me is his parents kept right on riding totally unconcerned with me and my injuries or the fact that their son almost got nailed to the road. And he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Anonymous's picture
Vic Tim (not verified)

What offense has been committed? Unpredictable Behavior by a Minor, first degree?

Point is: Yes, the park road is full of kids who might suddenly swerve at the sight of an ice cream cart, skaters carving figure 8's, blind joggers wearing headphones, dog walkers, horses, juggling clowns and dancing bears. But none of this is against any Parks Dept rules or NYS laws! So why gripe? There are better places to ride!

Anonymous's picture
linda (not verified)
Please take the time to read what I actually said...

...instead of overeacting. I stated very clearly that the offense was made by the parent(s) not keeping a watchful eye on their child - not the inexperienced child. You wouldn't (well...hopefully you wouldn't) let a young child cross a heavily traveled road unattended/unwatched - this situation is no different.

And yes, its true, there might be better places to ride. Not the point. I love Central Park. Especially the dancing bears.

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)
Did break the laws

"""But none of this is against any Parks Dept rules or NYS laws!""

Actually, in NYC minors under 14 years of age are required by law to wear helmet when riding a bike.


Anonymous's picture
Vic Tim (not verified)

"OK, I can pick nits with the best of them, too.

Actually, in NY State there is a helmet requirement for children under 14.

And the non-illegal ""this"" I referred to was: ""kids who might suddenly swerve at the sight of an ice cream cart, skaters carving figure 8's, blind joggers wearing headphones, dog walkers, horses, juggling clowns and dancing bears.""

No mention of helmets, correct?

Over & Out!"

cycling trips