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Old 10-14-09, 05:31 PM   #1
wheeldeal
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Bike vs bike accident on 9th Street

The three of us decided to take a ride into the city for the sake of it. We started at 7pm in Forest Hills and took Queens Blvd until we hit the 59th Street Bridge. Headed south on 2nd Avenue and made a right turn on 9th Street to head west.

There's a bike lane on 9th street.

I was leading. I had a Cateye blinky up front, PBSF in the rear. #2 rode a black K2 mountain bike with slick tires (his commuter). He doesn't have lights....no helmet. He's been riding this way for over 2 years now. He seems to be doing fine.

#3 is my "big friend". He's on a 2005 Rockhopper with a Cateye blinky up front and a regular red Cateye blinky in the rear. #3 is about 5'10" and weighs about 190lbs. He's a sanitation employee for NYC....built like a truck. He had a BMX helmet on.

So....we're heading west on 9th Street (a one way street going from 5th Ave towards 6th Ave). Tons of traffic moving alongside us.

I admit....I may have been daydreaming a bit since I had the safety of the bike lane. We were pedaling along around 12-15mph. I was caught off guard when I saw a bike approaching us. He just appeared from the darkness. No lights......nothing. He was going at around 8-10mph (if I had to guess). I didn't even have time to alert my buddies.

When I saw him, he was hugging the parked cars....forcing me to move into traffic. I had to swerve a little & get out of the bike lane to avoid him.

#2 did the same. But #3 had no idea and BAM!!!!! They collided pretty hard. Both went down.

Long story short: the guy had a bloody nose and it seemed as if he bit his lips as well. It took a little him while to get up.

Once everyone got up, everyone apologized and we went our way.

When we reached Battery Park City, we talked about what happened. #3 said he had no idea someone was coming at us. He said he saw #2 swerve and when he looked up, the guy was almost in his face already. He said he put his head down to brace for the impact and he has no idea what happened afterwards.

My guess is that his helmet slammed into the guys head/face when they collided. But we couldn't find any blood on the helmet.

I felt bad because it was partially my fault not being fully alert.

#2 said that when he passed the guy, he barely made it w/o knocking handlebars with the guy.

No damage to #3's bike. Slight scruff on the saddle & bar end.

Last edited by wheeldeal; 10-14-09 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 10-14-09, 07:59 PM   #2
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Hate to hear about bike-on-bike, but clearly the salmon got what he had coming to him. Too bad your friend had to go down, as well. Hope he's OK.
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Old 10-15-09, 07:38 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about that. I deal all the time on my commute home at night. Delivery guys are the usual culprits going against traffic and on 1st Avenue of all places. I wave them INTO traffic and force the issue. LET THEM SWERVE INTO TRAFFIC. You risk more when you swerve into traffic.
Of course I understand you were not fully focused and we all do that sometimes.

Sorry anyone went down and got hurt. Perhaps in hind sight this guy learned a valuable lesson.
A) Wear a helmet
B) Get a light
C) Go with the direction of traffic, its not only smart it's the law.
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Old 10-15-09, 08:07 AM   #4
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If someone is riding against the flow of traffic they are placing themselves in a dangerous situation so they should assume all of the risk and go into oncoming traffic. I don't yield to salmons, they break the law (and defy common sense) at their own peril.
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Old 10-15-09, 08:15 AM   #5
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I use this lane at least once a week. That one, and the one going east on 10th street are quite heavily traveled.

You bring up an important point - being lulled into a false sense of security/safety in a bike lane. This is something that happens to a lot of us. You need to stay just as vigilant there as when there is no lane.

Not implying this was your fault, any more than if someone had doored you, or a ped walking out in between parked cars, etc. This was totally the salmon's fault. Just saying, everyone, please be careful regardless of where you're riding.

Glad your friend was okay. It sounds like the guy riding the wrong way hit the last one among you he'd have wanted to!
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Old 10-15-09, 08:21 AM   #6
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Once everyone got up, everyone apologized and we went our way.
In what city did this happen?
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Old 10-15-09, 08:25 AM   #7
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In what city did this happen?
New York Phvcking City
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Old 10-15-09, 08:37 AM   #8
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Wrong way cyclists are everywhere in NYC, and they're totally unapologetic about it. I've had so many near-misses with those guys, the mind boggles. It sucks.

OP, you guys weren't riding side-by-side, were you? I wasn't sure...
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Old 10-15-09, 10:11 AM   #9
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Wrong way cyclists are everywhere in NYC, and they're totally unapologetic about it. I've had so many near-misses with those guys, the mind boggles. It sucks.

OP, you guys weren't riding side-by-side, were you? I wasn't sure...
I've had plenty of salmon apologize - especially along Sixth Avenue where the bike lane is particularly narrow. They know they're wrong but that doesn't stop them from doing it.
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Old 10-15-09, 10:46 AM   #10
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Hate to hear about bike-on-bike, but clearly the salmon got what he had coming to him. Too bad your friend had to go down, as well. Hope he's OK.
My buddy wasn't hurt at all. He bounced right back up after hitting the ground. The salmon stayed down for a while and was pretty dazed at first. He looked pretty frightened when he got up and the three of us surrounded him looking at his face closely (because he was bleeding). We offered to call 911. We gave him some napkins as well. He was very very apologetic. My friend apologized too. He said he was zoned out and was just following #2's back tire.

The reason the three of us were super mellow was because we had food coma. We just ate a huge Italian meal before the incident.

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I wave them INTO traffic and force the issue. LET THEM SWERVE INTO TRAFFIC. You risk more when you swerve into traffic.
I do the same....although I don't wave them. I just hug the parked cars and we'll play chicken until he either moves into traffic or stops his bike. When he stops his bike, I come to a stop via trackstand and make him walk his bike around me just to get the point across. Yeah....sometimes I'm an a-hole like that.

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You bring up an important point - being lulled into a false sense of security/safety in a bike lane. This is something that happens to a lot of us. You need to stay just as vigilant there as when there is no lane.
This was definitely the case here. We just had dinner and was feeling nice, warm & tingly inside. We decided to take it slow and even follow all traffic signs!

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OP, you guys weren't riding side-by-side, were you? I wasn't sure...
No, not at the point of the accident. We did ride side-by-side after the incident to chit-chat. Since I'm the most experienced of the group, I usually traffic side when we ride side by side. They stay in the door zone. Not the smartest thing to do....but we only did that when there was very little traffic and when we were going extremely slow (8 - 12mph).

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I've had plenty of salmon apologize - especially along Sixth Avenue where the bike lane is particularly narrow. They know they're wrong but that doesn't stop them from doing it.
Same here. I get it a lot on 8th Ave. (PS - I never knew 6th Ave had a bike lane!!! Where's that located? I normally ride 6th Ave around Prince Street). If I don't get apologies while I'm playing chicken with them, I get lots of guilty looks. They know they're in the wrong. And I'm glad they're not aggressive when they're salmoning.

Last edited by wheeldeal; 10-15-09 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 10-15-09, 10:57 AM   #11
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I saw a wrong-way salmon biking uptown in the Allen Street "downtown" bike path last night. The really stupid thing is there's an empty bike path going his way on the other side of the divider! What's that? 20 feet away? What a lazy ****!

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Old 10-15-09, 11:03 AM   #12
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Same here. I get it a lot on 8th Ave. (PS - I never knew 6th Ave had a bike lane!!! Where's that located? I normally ride 6th Ave around Prince Street).
The bike lane runs up the length of 6th avenue up to 59th and Central Park North.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:17 AM   #13
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(PS - I never knew 6th Ave had a bike lane!!! Where's that located? I normally ride 6th Ave around Prince Street). If I don't get apologies while I'm playing chicken with them, I get lots of guilty looks. They know they're in the wrong. And I'm glad they're not aggressive when they're salmoning.
The Sixth Avenue bike lane is easy to miss since it's only three to four feet wide and often has trucks and dumpsters blocking it... or covering it completely. It runs from West Ninth Street, right past the Jefferson Market Library, up to Central Park, though the lines may have been lost in some places along the way. The 2009 NYC Bike Map shows it going only as far north as Bryant Park.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:55 AM   #14
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Is there something about riding against traffic that I'm missing? Out here on Long Island, many people (most often Mexican laborers) insist on riding the wrong side of the road, against traffic, even when there's a nice, wide shoulder on the other side of the road. Are cyclists required to ride against traffic in places like Mexico or El Salvador, where many of these laborers come from?
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Old 10-15-09, 01:24 PM   #15
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Are cyclists required to ride against traffic in places like Mexico or El Salvador, where many of these laborers come from?
I have heard that such rules indeed exist in other countries, which would explain much, but salmoning is not relegated to only the laborer or the recent immigrant. I suspect timid riders are the real cause, not to mention ignorance of any directional rule existing. And then there's convenience....I actually salmon every day, but only for the one block under the 59th street bridge.

I used to ride against traffic on LI because I was a jogger before I was a rider and police actually stopped us while we were running with traffic and told us to run facing the cars. It wasn't until I rode with a friend who was an experienced rider that I learned one should ride with traffic. That was scary at first but it soon became obvious that riding with traffic is much safer (for everyone).
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Old 10-15-09, 02:15 PM   #16
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Yeah, the theory being that going against the traffic while running so you'd have at least half a chance to jump away from say...a drunk driver. On a bike you're moving too fast to go counter traffic.


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