bike phobic after crash

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Anonymous's picture

Crashed on the Brooklyn Bridge in June, (pedestrian error)
4 fractures, healed, now bike phobic. Wondering if NYC is just too
dangerous for common folk commuters or I should jump back on.

On that note, what is the safest route uptown for newly bike-phobic
types if I venture out.

PS -- do NOT go to Methodist Hosp. in Brooklyn after an accident. Or for anything.

Anonymous's picture
Carol (not verified)
Jump back on

Sorry you crashed. Like they used to tell you as a kid, you have to pick yourself up and get back on the bike (or horse or scooter or whatever threw you to the ground). Protect yourself to the extent possible, but don't be timid about riding. Consider yourself a vehicle and take your space. Yell to pedestrians when necessary, look drivers in the eye, and be agressive (while being defensive).

There is an east side bike path along the river that goes up to the 30's, I think. Then you have to go on city streets for a while and then you may be able to get back on the path. Someone else can give you directions how to access it from the bridge.

Anonymous's picture
Matt P. (not verified)

i would be curious to know how your accident happened. maybe readers on this board could offer some advice to prevent a future accident.

yes, nyc is a dangerous place to ride. i was hit last year when a car turned left in front of me. the driver fled the scene, and i'm still dealing with a separated shoulder. i have not commuted by bike since then, but i'm going to start communting again this winter.

my only advice is ride like you are invisible. assume no no will ever see you, move out of the way for you or stop for you. and get a really loud bell. good luck.

Anonymous's picture
worried in brooklyn (not verified)

I was riding (my bike) over the Brooklyn Bridge, almost toward the end
on the Bklyn side, when a bunch of people were hanging out in the bike path. I signalled for them to move and they went left, except for one woman, who pressed herself against the wall in the bike path lane.

I nodded to thank them, gained speed and went fwd, and suddenly the woman to my right jumped out in front of my bike. I braked short and flipped over handle bars. I am not sure if she was drinking or just a pinhead or what-- she was really sorry, but that didn't help much.

Okay, that was a freak accident, but the pedestrians in this city are about the worse I have ever encoutered in 6 states of riding.

Some of the bikers can be bad, too. The nuts racing down the Brkyn bridge have got to be out of their minds. The pedestrians routinely walk or veer into the bike path--that alone could kill a speeding biker.

If I ever get back on the bike here, I will look into the east side path.

Anonymous's picture
ML (not verified)
post crash

"I also had an accident on the Brooklyn Bridge... last September. Pedestrian in the bike lane. I broke two bones and my helmet saved me. Anyway, spring came and I got back on the bike. I started slow by going to the park during non-car hours. I was a bit shaky, mostly because my arm was still a little weak from atrophy.

I think you should just get back on the bike and go with the ""I'm invisible"" philosophy. I always assume pedestrians are going to jump in front of me now and that cars are going to pull out in front of me. It's hard, but you have to try to not let it keep you from doing what you love. Regarding the bridge, I finally rode on the Brooklyn Bridge again and it was nerve-racking the first time, but it got easier. I realized that to cross that bridge you just have to go slow - very slow. I find it to be better than the Manhattan Bridge because Chinatown is worse than riding on the Brooklyn. I say try it again and assume it's going to take a little time to get over it.

Good luck!"

Anonymous's picture
Andy (not verified)
Bridges and Pedestrians


You mention that the group of peds was hanging out in the bike lane. I've crossed this bridge hundreds of times over the years and notice that most groups of pedestrians are not New Yorkers at all but indeed tourists. Regular users of the Brooklyn Bridge know enough--whether through courtesy or through too many close calls with cyclists--to use their lane and not to clump up and obstruct other users. (I'm not speaking about every NYer, but many regular bridge users know to keep clear.)

Essentially, what I'm voicing here is that ""NY pedestrians"" are made up of lots and lots of tourists who are simply--and without offense meant--clueless as to how to ""conduct"" themselves on city streets, sidewalks, and in common-use areas like bridge paths and walkways. Again, not sticking up for NYers here, but many ""problems"" are caused by people who are just unfamiliar with getting around our big city and are confused or clueless as to the workings of such busy pedestrian/vehicle traffic. Most tourists, when you think of it, are from towns or rural areas--or even other countries altogether--and are coming to see firsthand the mayhem and wonder that NY presents. It's not entirely their fault, per se, that they get in the way (How could they prepare themselves for what NY provides?), but just that they're so unfamiliar with the hectic setting they've entered.

As far as bridges go, I prefer the Brooklyn to the Manhattan. The Manhattan has lots of those very bumpy (even hazardous) metal plates at inopportune places, is indeed more remote as far as thefts/personal safety goes, and offers little for me to enjoy. If something bad happens there, you're all on your own, especially if it's dark or getting dark outside. I feel safer around more people even if I have to maneuver and ride more defensively around them. The Brooklyn Bridge is a wonderful route for me and exemplifies sightseeing in NYC--as displayed by the tourists and their cameras on the expanse of it. A bell is a great idea--I have one on my cruiser for bike-path use--and the safest thing to use; it's also inoffensive, which helps with cyclist/pedestrian ""relations,"" if you will.

By all means get back on the bike and be defensive. Use a bell, make eye contact, wave/nod ""thank you"" when you can, and enjoy the ride.

Safe and happy riding,

Anonymous's picture
Jk (not verified)
Manhattan Bridge

Use the Manhattan Bridge. Much less pedestrian traffic.

Anonymous's picture
John Miller (not verified)

I second that -- Manhattan Bridge is much safer for the length of the path itself, since the north side is a dedicated bike lane and the south side a dedicated pedestrian one.

My one caveat is that it is narrow, with two shallow but blind curves on the Manhattan side, so best to control your speed on the descent.

The approaches, on both sides, are the usual adventures of playing in traffic -- at rush hour Chinatown has its own hazards with pedestrians, and there are always lots of trucks rumbling around the Brooklyn side as there are entrances to the B.Q.E. from underneath the bridge.

Add mine to the condolences over your crash. I hope you make a full recovery, body and mind.

Simply out of curiosity -- what was so bad about Methodist Hospital?

Anonymous's picture
worried in brooklyn (not verified)

"Thanks for words. Helmet saved me... as it usually does.

& Great tip! Will try bc it is never again to Bklyn bridge for me... although someone just now told me that she thinks the Manhattan bridge is less safe in terms of darkness and toughs lurking.
Will try it anway.

filthy ER, petulant staff, obnoxious Dr. (who is now apparently suspended after my complaint), 6 hour wait on slow night with many empty beds, massive disorganization, very disgruntled employees, refusing to clean wounds, major x-ray & other errors... long list.

Have heard Beth Israel and Columbia Pres. are best, but would like to know if anyone has others to add to that list.

My subsequent surgery at Columbia was indeed like a spa treatment compared to Methodist. I hope no on ever has to go to the ER but highly recommend Col. Pres if you can get there.

Guess that US News ""best hospitals"" list does indeed mean something!


Anonymous's picture
Steven Marks (not verified)
Getting back on after an accident

I had a very major accident last July 3 (broke my bike in two as well as me).

Starting riding again was very scary. EVERYTHING looked like an accident about to happen.

I started slow, to have plenty of time to react, rode the Hudson River path early to stay out of traffic. After a while, the fear fades. Unless you don't ride, then you get to keep your fear...

Anonymous's picture
brooklyn (not verified)

do you mind me asking you what happened in your case? it sounds much worse than mine.

Anonymous's picture
Steven Marks (not verified)

I was riding alone through Minnawaska State Park (44/55)near New Paltz. Going towards 209. The safest place I could imagine riding.

An old guy ran a stop sign at like the only intersetion on the road and I broadsided him - going 35 mph. I flew 30 feet over the car, shattered my left leg (tib/fib) and shoulder. Amazingly, didn't hurt my head, neck or back.

Literly broke my bike in half. I should have been killed. I got off lucky. 9 months of rehab, slowly got my form back and am back on the road. I did a beautiful 60 miles in CT last weekend. The rod comes out of my leg next month.

The first few rides were really scary. Everything looked like an accident about to happen...

The seminal moment in my recovery was completing the 50 mile loop I was on when the accident happened.


Anonymous's picture
Zac Fisher (not verified)
Its been 4+ months for me now also

I had someone pull a u-turn in front of me on Riverside without looking. Broke both wrists and the carbon bike as well.

I was taken to St. Lukes instead of Columbia/Pres, even though I was just down the street from there. The ambulance driver told me Columbia does not have a trauma center and they take everyone to St Lukes. St Lukes was pretty good, got taken care of fast. I went back there for surgery on my wrists too.

I've been on my bike outdoors just once and found there is still enough pain to be uncomfortable but not unmanageable. I also only went in Prospect Park since I'm also a little leary of riding in traffic now. And since I used my old bike I discovered how stiff the brakes are, making it that much more painful and difficult to stop. If I continue to use this bike I'm going to transfer my new Chorus gear to it.

Anonymous's picture
Maryellen (not verified)
Joint Disease Hospital

if you are certain your injuries are orthopedic, go to the 24 hour room at Hospital for Joint Disease on Second Avenue between 17 and 18 Streets.

I learned the hard way--went to the NYU ER with what I knew was a break (non-biking) and had to wait for the orthopedic resident to come up from Joint Disease. I've gone directly to Joint Disease for an injury once since then, and it was a very good experience. The staff is pleasant, competent, and you will avoid the characters typical to NYC ERs.

Anonymous's picture
brooklyn (not verified)

very good suggestion. i also read good things about hosp
for joint diseases.

a good possible threat would be best hospital experiences.
curious what other experiences are out there.

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

I had a good experience with Joint Disease too (now affiliated with NYU Med). Had surgery for a separated shoulder. Quite a diff experience from the ER at Metropolitan Host where the ambulance took me.

I got hit by an SUV on Randall's Island during the TA Century ride 6 weeks ago. Kind of ironic since that's the most traffic free place you could find around here.

Not sure how I'll feel once I get back on the bike. I do know I'm really jumpy even walking around cars. But I'm sure that will gradually go away, as will the pain...

Good luck!

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