TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With it’s 3.6 miles of scenic views spanning the Hudson River, the pedestrian bike path on the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is a big draw.
But many who use the path say the lanes are just too narrow and the design is dangerous.
One cyclist, who needed surgery after an accident on the path, recently shared her story exclusively with CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
The path is separated from the road by a barrier. There are more than three and a half miles for cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy — one side for walking, the other for riding a bike. But some feel it’s a disaster waiting to happen. For one woman, it already did.
“Lana” didn’t want to give last name or where she lives.
“I’m a big biker, which is why I wanted to go on the bridge, which I probably shouldn’t have,” she said.
The woman said her first time riding across the bridge will be her last after being struck by another cyclist, in the bike lane, last month.
“A young man, I think, it was so fast, side-swiped me and forced me into the wall because it was too crowded for him to get by. That’s when I sustained my injury. It’s a deep abrasion. It took all the skin off my arm,” Lana said.
It is bloody and painful, she said, as she showed DeAngelis her wrapped wound on the eve of her surgery.
“I have to have a graft. They take some skin off my right thigh and put it over this to help it heal,” Lana said.
She believes the cyclist was riding well over the 15 mph limit, despite signs posted.
Drone Force 2 over the path shared with pedestrians — a total to 12 feet wide — separated by a white line.
“It’s not very well divided, so sometimes if a biker wants to get around he would go into the pedestrian lane,” Lana said.
“It is narrow, but people are doing the right thing,” said Aly Harris of Hartsdale.
“I don’t think this was planned well. If you look at the path, it’s way to narrow to share between pedestrians and people riding bikes,” added Dennis Goodhart of Ardsley.
DeAngelis hit the pavement to see first hand what’s going on. She witnessed some families with young children walking the line or even cross from one lane to another. As she ran toward people they moved into the bike lane, but didn’t check behind them for bikes.
And in another instance, a cyclist whipped by.
She said you do your best to share the space, but it’s easy to be forced to swerve.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said he has received a number of calls expressing safety concerns.
“They feel there’s a major accident waiting to happen unless something is done,” Feiner said.
He’s suggesting the state Thruway Authority consider different shifts for cyclists and pedestrians, or widen the path to separate the two.
“My major concern is safety and I feel the state is on notice. They know that many people have already said it’s dangerous and they should take action before there’s a tragedy,” Feiner said. “We want to be proud of this bridge. We love it.”
DeAngelis tried to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office and the Thruway Authority about this, but they would not go on camera.
A spokesperson said there are no plans to widen the path, and the state is closely monitoring safety.
CBS2 has been told, among the tens of thousands of visitors on the path there have been six reports of accidents.
The Thruway Authority said a shared-use path requires a shared responsibility.
“Whether it’s the highway or the shared-use path, the Thruway Authority continues to make safety our top priority. Since the path opened on June 15, tens of thousands of visitors have explored the path, and to enhance safety we have added additional signage and pavement markings, and soon will be lowering the speed limit to 5 mph as cyclists approach the overlooks. But a shared-use path also requires shared responsibility from all of its users. We ask cyclists and pedestrians remain aware of their surroundings and be respectful to each other so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable experience,” Thruway Authority spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said.
That said, some feel the the state should take more responsibility.
“Just fix it because I don’t want anyone else getting hurt. Shut it down until you fix it,” Lana said.
Another concern she raised is how it was difficult for emergency service crews to get to her for treatment.
Feiner is asking people for their input on safety, offering a survey.