NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Cars get a bad reputation in New York City, but now there’s concern over two-wheeled terrors racing through a scenic stretch along the Hudson River.
The city expects pedestrians and cyclists to share the space safely, but that’s hardly been the case, especially for one little girl mowed down by a speeding biker.
Cuts and bruises are still all over Mabel Jensen’s face after the four-year-old was run over by a speeding cyclist Monday in Riverside Park.
“My other kids jumped out of the way, but he hit my little one,” the child’s mother, Adrienne Jensen said.
One second, the family is walking along the Hudson River Greenway, by the 79th Street boat basin. The next, they’re in the emergency room.
“There is no safe way to speed through a crowded pedestrian area on a bike,” Jensen stated.
In 2018, five pedestrians reported to police they were hit by cyclists in the neighborhood. Twelve reported they were struck in 2017, two of which in Riverside Park.
The numbers don’t shock the Upper West Side community, as most believe cyclists move too fast and recklessly through the greenway.
“It’s just about being sensible,” Manhattan resident Tom Holmes said.
“They think they’re in a race, for sure. Very dangerous,” Karly Tetlow added.
“The onus is on them, they need to be more careful if they’re going really fast,” Ruth Schroeder declared.
The greenway stretches around most of Manhattan’s waterfront. On some paths, cyclists must dismount and walk their bikes, but along a stretch of the Upper West Side everyone has to share the path.
The responsibility is literally and figuratively a two-way street for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“There are a lot of runners and pedestrians who were earbuds and can’t hear anything, they can’t hear when you’re screaming you’re about to hit them,” cyclist David Melchior alleged.
Despite being on a fast-moving vehicle with brakes, several cyclists CBS2’s John Dias spoke to refused take the fault, saying pedestrians and runners are just as much too blame as they are for the accidents.
“I think they need to be cognizant of the rules of the road,” Noel Comes claimed.
Bikers and runners may not have to compromise for much longer however, as a separate cycling pathway is almost finished being built between 72nd and 83rd Streets.
The project was funded by the office of city council member Helen Rosenthal. She’s now urging the Parks Department to extend separate paths so “all pedestrians and cyclists can travel through the park safely.”
“You can’t mix high speed cycling with pedestrians, there is no safe way to do that,” Mabel Jensen’s mother added.
According to Jensen, a police report was not filed for her daughter’s injuries because authorities said the accident did not involve a motor vehicle. Simply put, because the four-year-old was hit by a bike and not a car it doesn’t rise to the level of police involvement.
The Parks Department says once the Hudson River Greenway renovation is finished there will reportedly be new 5-MPH signs posted for bikers in key areas. According to the city, any bicyclist who endangers a pedestrian could get a fine of up to $750.