Police & Fire

Bicyclist And Car Driver Collide At Ocean Parkway And Cortelyou Road

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Ocean Parkway Cortelyou bicycle accident
A bicyclist and a car driver collided with one another on Ocean Parkway and Cortelyou Road yesterday evening, though fortunately no one was injured, according to the FDNY.

Fire officials said they received a call about the accident at 6:57 pm Wednesday evening. The FDNY had no further information about the cause of the accident.

Ocean Parkway has long been a notoriously dangerous road for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, and Ocean and Church Avenue was recently named one of the worst intersections for pedestrians in the city. State officials are currently studying Ocean Parkway in an attempt to make the roadway safer, with DOT representatives floating such ideas as creating mid-block crossings to implementing speed display boards to address the myriad safety issues.

According to the most recent statistics from the city, there were five accidents involving bicycles and vehicles at Ocean Parkway and Cortelyou Road in May. Eleven people were involved, and one person was injured. The accidents involved passenger vehicles and one sports utility vehicle.

There were six collisions between bicyclists and vehicles at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway in May. Twelve people were involved in the accidents, and there were no reported injuries, according to the same statistics.

The city also reported that in May there were four accidents at Beverley Road and Ocean Parkway, and five collisions at Ditmas Avenue and Ocean Parkway. No people were injured at Beverley and Ocean, and there was one injury reported at Ditmas and Ocean.

What have your experiences been on Ocean Parkway – as a bicyclist, pedestrian, or driver? What do you think needs to be done to make it safer?

Thanks to neighbor Je Suis for sending us the photo of yesterday’s accident. We are relieved to hear no one was seriously hurt.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I’m the first to loathe and despise bad drivers, but truth be told, a great step towards safety on Ocean Parkway would be the cyclists not running through red lights at high speed, like they do all the time, or at any speed for that matter. I’ve been witness to a few near-misses entirely due to the cyclist’s reckless disregard of the most basic rules.

  2. I was hit three years ago riding the Ocean Parkway bike path, going across Ave. U with the light. The driver, older than me (I’m no longer “young”) said he hadn’t seen me. He did, though — we made eye contact when he was in the service road, but he left a stop sign and turned left into the crosswalk where I was riding. I sustained no injury beyond bruises, strains and a crushed bike.

    But I’ve ridden the OP bike path regularly for 8 years, and think that the biggest detriment to riding (or walking) is that drivers insist on taking up the cross walks waiting for the lights to change so they can get onto OP. They are typically quite impatient about that, and get riled when it’s pointed out (however politely) that the crosswalks are for walking — and a green light for the north-south flow means people walking or riding north south have a right of way in that space.

    There are dangers from drivers leaving OP to turn right into the crosswalks, but usually those drivers seem to be usually conscious of pedestrians and bikes in the lanes they’re turning into. It’s not the through traffic that’s so dangerous — unless a bicyclist or pedestrian is trying to cross agains the light, or a driver is running a yellow — but the local traffic and that service street require enforcement of laws about where they can stand waiting for the lights to change. IMHO

  3. The bizzare layouts of the intersections with the adjacent service roads are to blame. None of it makes any sense and of course no traffic violations are issued for all the speeding, running of red lights, and ignoring the right of way. DOT should just start over. Put the parkway in a culvert ala the Vine and limit access. Heck, build a park on top afterwards!

  4. I love to ride my bike but am totally afraid to ride it on Ocean Parkway. Drivers never look to see if a cyclist or even a pedestrian is coming. I have almost been hit as both. I’m not sure what the answer is, how to prevent people from running stop signs (a huge problem in Kensington, where I live) or not yielding for a turn. The police can’t sit and stand guard at every corner. So what do we do? I think there needs to be a switch all across the city where pedestrians always have the right of way. Of course, the law states that but that isn’t the mindset. In this city it seems that motorists have the right of way and it’s everyone else that has to wait. Maybe stricter laws?

  5. I know! I barely take my bike out anymore–hell, I feel like a sitting duck when I’m waiting for the crossing signal.

    I doubt it’s possible to mandate people not to drive for a period of time, like say six months or a year, but it would sure be great if some genius mind figured out how to incentivize them not to and then made sure they actually didn’t. I know my experiences as a pedestrian in NYC will make me a better driver than I was before I walked everywhere, so maybe people just need another perspective.

    Of course, the DOT worker I said that to at a Vision Zero meeting a while back laughed at me when I mentioned it. So I guess he wasn’t the genius mind I’m hoping for.

  6. Apart from the fact that cyclists on Ocean Parkway routinely ride through intersections against the light when they are not blocked by traffic, n/b drivers turning left present a problem since they are crossing the bike path. If the drivers make a legal left turn on a steady green, cyclists also have a steady go signal. In order for a car to avoid a collision with cyclist the driver would have stop in mid-turn putting the driver at risk waiting in Ocean Pkwy’s active southbound lane. That is certainly not a safe choice. A drive could eye cyclists approaching the intersection and anticipate at what point it would be best to turn. Too many variables to consider. From the cyclist’s perspective, every intersection may have turning cars. Rider should allow the car to complete its turn. Trying to beat the car as it makes a turn is a deadly choice. If the driver is making a left on a green arrow where all Ocean Pkwy traffic is stopped, the cyclist should obey the red signal and not enter the intersection at all. Cars still go through the yellow arrows so riders should be alert. And drivers should still stay alert to crossing cyclists against the red. There are many yahoos out there driving and biking but there is no winners when soft flesh meets hard steel. Better signage and signal systems would help. Education too. Ocean Parkway is a wonderful greenway and can get very busy on the weekends. Ride and Drive Smart.
    http://www.friendsofoceanparkway.org (Brooklyn Views)

  7. I have many times experienced drivers coming so close at me when I was crossing OP. Drivers are careless, impatient. I want cameras on all intersections of OP. The city should see how drivers abuse their power on the road.

  8. If it’s too hard to make a left turn, then don’t make the left turn. Right of way laws favoring the person preceding straight through an intersection do not cease to exist, nor does your responsibility to follow them, just because it’s a complicated intersection and the turning vehicle is more lethal. Quite the opposite actually.

    Some people love to generalize about cyclist disobedience of rules of the road, but here we have a call to disregard exactly those rules when they’re inconvenient to a motorist.

  9. Most of them were probably driving to Sycamore so they could take little kids into a bar. The bastards.

  10. For whatever it’s worth, I avoid OP but enjoyed a really nice ride to Sheepshead Bay and Marine Park from DP the other day — riding through Orthodox Midwood on Saturdays is a rider’s dream. I went over the Ave H cut on the E.14th Street (Rugby) overpass to Ave J and then to the Bedford Av bikelane. The bikelane is great all the way until Kings Highway — esp. on Shabbos! — but south of there it gets narrower, and there are driveways interspersed between the parked cars. Also, Lance Jacobs of Virtuous Bicycle offers some free/low cost bike workshops on riding in the City which I found useful. Local groups can contact him. Lastly, he recommends always wearing super hi visibility clothing and flags above the bicycle. Flo yellow vests and helmets aren’t fashionable, but they do make the rider very visible.

  11. Right — with a dedicated bike lane, a superhighway — with pedestrian crossings under or over!

  12. OP may be one of America’s oldest dedicated bike lanes, but its design is also dangerous and outdated. Others have mentioned the hazards here. Every intersection, every block is an opportunity for a collision. There is plenty of space in the right-of-way, but I think it could benefit from a complete redesign.

    Oh yes… and let’s not just blithely blame this on bad bikers. The road is seriously flawed.

  13. Exactly. When Ocean Parkway was designed, even if someone had the foresight to envision a time where automobiles replaced the horse and buggy, they certainly would not have anticipated that they would be traveling at 60 miles per hour. Also, to repost what I said on the Facebook post:

    The service roads are a big part of the problem. They are unsignalized so a lot of drivers use them as speedways to avoid red lights on the main road and they barely if at all stop at the stop signs. I also think they should paint sharrows on the service road to encourage bicyclists to ride on them instead of the greenway. The bike path on the greenway is usually mobbed with pedestrians and is more susceptible to the “right hook” collisions with cars turning from the main road. I always ride on the service road and feel safer and I don’t feel bad if a car is behind me because if they are not going to a destination on the service road they should be using the main road for through travel.

  14. The DOT has a series of traffic engineers that could not successfully devise a traffic plan if their life depended on it. Ocean Parkway was designed in the day age well before the automobile and isn’t suited for the traffic it experiences today.

    There are two approaches to resolve the issues, one requiring a major reconstruction.

    Without reconstruction, the service road would need to be required to allow right turns only. If the right isn’t available (there are a few) you must proceed the next avenue. They could then come around to enter OP by going around. The second issue are cars turning right off OP into an Ave without checking. The right lane of OP would have to be designated for right turns only. Signs need to be placed to check for pedestrians or cyclists when turning onto and avenue. This would lend to cleaner traffic as the right lane would be more easily able to hold when vehicles need to wait for the walkway to be clear and pedestrians and cyclists could easily identify cars that intend to turn right onto the upcoming avenue. While not perfect, its a drastic improvement to what exists today. Two lane of free flowing traffic and two lanes for turning traffic. Additionally, the right lane of OP is often an issue with metal drains and icing. Its the least desirable lane to drive on.

    With reconstruction, this roadway is wide enough to create an endless potential options. One thought would be an elevated bike path constructed from clear polymers (limit light loss). Well, some steel as needed on the columns, but something that would run from Coney Island and terminate at some point at Prospect Park.

    So many ideas, not enough funds :(.

  15. I have been told by numerous offices that were blocking the bike lane that thy can not do anything including move their vehicles out of the way.

  16. I’ve been bicycling on Ocean Parkway for decades now, and never use the bike path. Like you, I also always use the service roads, for the reasons you stated.

    I disagree that the service roads are ‘part of the problem.’ Separating through traffic from parkers, double parkers, driveway, etc. makes things much safer overall. The number of accidents on Ocean Parkway probably has much more to do with the sheer volume of vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic than to any design flaws. In fact I wish CIA could add a dedicated left turn phase like OP has, to eliminate the perceived need to jump the light or make a left long after the light has turned red against you.

  17. Did the cyclist stop for the light or stop sign or go right through. I had one crazy cyclist almost hit me head on while she was riding the wrong way on Cortelyou eastbout smack in the center of the lane. She, of course blew the light as I was turning into Cortelyou. Blame the cyclists not the driver!

  18. You mean more than drivers’ reckless disregard for the most basic rules? like,
    – speeding http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pedestrians/saferoutes.shtml
    – illegal use of mobile devices (at an astonishing rate!)
    – failure to yield to pedestrians
    – speeding up to yellow lights and taking the red, taking the red (1
    million times a day

    – illegal u-turns
    – illegal double parking,
    – illegal honking,
    – illegal engine idling (http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2012%2F02%2F06%2Fhealth%2Fengines-new-york-law%2F&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFlRn65jYo9pZffJPW0x0U-A3EBnA)
    – Jumping curbs https://twitter.com/CurbJumpingNYC
    and in the process killing 34,000 Americans each year, and sending over a million to the ER.

    But sure, don’t forget to blame the victim!

  19. as with eastern parkway, you’re safer cycling on the access road of ocean parkway, taking the lane, than on the stupidly designed cycle track.

  20. Apart from honking an idling, cyclists do all that and worse. And they force drivers and pedestrians and other cyclists into evasive maneuvers, putting many at risk. And on occasion, they kill people of their own, too.

    Check out this article by that evil, bigoted, Koch brothers-funded rag, the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/nyregion/wife-of-man-killed-by-cyclist-seeks-safer-streets.html?_r=0

    But sure, don’t let facts and common sense get in the way of intellectual dishonesty!

  21. Because an awful lot of drivers don’t want to admit that they share in a lawless driving culture – and they certainly don’t want to give it up.

  22. And they pee in public and smoke weed, too. That must be the reason 34,000 die each year and who-knows-how-many limbs amputated. Because they have to make special “evasive maneuvers” around cyclists and pedestrians since slowing down to the legal limit and putting down the phone doesn’t come naturally to them.

  23. It’s not “either or.” Both motorists and cyclists blow lights, stop signs and speed. Both groups do, consistently. As a motorist, I get furious when I see other drivers disobey laws, sometimes causing near misses. But I have also seen (and been involved in myself) near misses caused by cyclists running red lights and stop signs. The challenge for Vision Zero is to change the NYC “street” culture for both groups, as well as pedestrians, that traffic laws are laws, not advisories,

  24. Flatbushfred, I appreciate your reasonableness and your desire to address these issues with honesty and truthfulness, but the whole point of this conversation is for cyclists and drivers to hate on each other. Nothing more. In particular, we aren’t actually interested in solving any problems or making our community better. Thanks, though.

  25. It’s not “either or.” Both motorists and cyclists blow lights, stop signs and speed.

    Yet motorists have killed more NYC pedestrians in the past week than cyclists have killed in the past ten years.

    (By the way – cyclists rarely speed.)

  26. And motorists rarely ride on sidewalks, or drive the wrong way down one-way streets. The whole line of argument as to who are the “bad” guys is pointless and unhelpful, to say the least. Both groups need to start obeying the traffic laws, as do pedestrians. It is up to the City to change the culture that gives everyone the idea that it is their right to go through a red light or stop sign, in a car or on a bike. And continuing to point fingers, or trying to say it’s someone else’s fault, only provides a distraction

  27. That depends on the objective.

    If the objective is to scold people for being naughty, I guess you’re right.
    But if the objective is to reduce fatalities, then we should be going after the people who have the real potential to kill rather than wasting effort and resources on those who don’t.

    By the way, motorists routinely drive onto sidewalks to park and operate for entire blocks in reverse, and I’ve never seen them ticketed for either infraction.

  28. A cyclist has huge potential to kill him or herself. But of course the real point of this is just to spew venom, so nevermind.

  29. Cyclists may have the potential to kill themselves or others, but statistics show that cars are majority of the culprits ACTUALLY killing people. And I mean even after you adjust for the fact that cars outnumber bikes here. It’s not “spewing venom” to counter the myth that cyclists are just as dangerous as cars.

  30. Was someone arguing that cyclists are “just as dangerous as cars”? If so, I missed those posts.

    Still, a straw man is a GREAT way to spew venom!! Please carry on!!!

  31. There’s no question that both should obey the law. But is there any equivalence with the danger a 30 lb bicycle poses with the danger of a 4,000-6,000 lb vehicle with a combustion engine? Yet, in my precinct 38 tickets were given to bicyclists in one month this spring while only 1 was given for speeding in the same month (in addition to the numerous speeding violations on every local street, my precinct also has a highway running through it).

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