Century Ride Exposes How Little The City Cares About Its Bicyclists

Photo by Kenneth Miraski of the fence that forced bikers onto Belt Parkway.

Yesterday’s Transportation Alternatives bike ride gathered about 6,000 registered riders for its 28th Century Bike Tour. Bikers followed routes that ranged from 15 to 100 miles throughout the city, showcasing parts of NYC’s 1,000 miles of bike lanes.

The ride was marred by the crash in Borough park where a drunk driver accelerated into a group of bicyclists stopped at a red light, injuring four, and one critically shortly after 9am. It happened at the intersection of 39th Street and 12th Avenue, and the driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license.

“Every New Yorker who rides a bikes deserves to be able to travel safely and free from harm. Our thoughts are with the family of the victim, and we are praying for her speedy recovery,” Paul Steely White, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives said yesterday.

As of this morning, Nancy Pease, the 55 year old bicyclist that was crushed under the car, is still in critical condition. “Our thoughts are with Nancy’s family, and we are praying for her recovery. It is truly outrageous that at 9am on a Sunday morning a drunk and unlicensed driver would mow-down a group of bike riders, ” Caroline Samporano of Transportation Alternatives said.

Only the 15 mile bike ride had police escort, due to focus on family rides, while the rest of bikers were taking public bike routes raising awareness of available bike infrastructure.

What the ride did highlight was how little the current administration cares.

A participant in the 100 mile route who was riding with his teenage son had strong words for De Blasio:

“I know De Blasio doesn’t share Bloomberg’s support for bikers, but the city’s obvious disdain for yesterday’s ride was insane.

It wasn’t just this horrible Borough park incident — which really does seem random. At one point in Queens, there was a fence right across the bike path — forcing riders to climb into a highway and snarling traffic.

Meanwhile there was zero attempt to secure or put a cop on the hairier parts of the route — which thousands of New Yorkers were riding.

In fact, the only officer we saw the whole day was stationed on the Marine Parkway Bridge, smugly yelling at riders to get off their bikes and walk them because there’s a “no bike” regulation on the bridge — despite there being exactly zero pedestrians.”

“We have reached out to the Parks department in an attempt to understand why the path was blocked at the last minute before our ride.  We did have a permit and that path was to be open”, said Samporano.

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  1. De Blasio doesn’t care about bikes??? The City closed Prospect Park and Central Park to cars, increasing traffic on surrounding streets so bicycles have exclusive use. More and more bike lanes are sprouting up all over the city, whether there is demand or not. But it’s De Blasio’s fault that the drunk driver hit this bikes?
    Meanwhile, bikes continue to ride the wrong way down one way streets, glide through STOP signs and red lights, ride on sidewalks.


  2. So…one unrelated accident and one bike path cut off equals the city showing how little it cares about cyclists? I’m not disagreeing, but this isn’t exactly a strong case you’re making.

  3. I agree. Who knows the real issue. Did the promoter not do their part in giving advanced notice to the authorities? There’s so many cyclists that take things too far out of context. As an example, when I ride, 19 times out of 20 a car will wait for me to go through an intersection first if we arrived there at the same time. But some cyclist will do nothing but bitch and complain at the one time in 20 where someone beeps at them or yells out the window. Chill, my friends and just enjoy the fact your able to ride a bike on a nice day.

  4. You would have to actually be a cyclist to understand. It’s not just this. NYC bike lanes are constantly full of trash, construction debris, parked NYPD vehicles, and more. The roads aren’t maintained, and the city generally gives little care to the cyclists that have to use those lanes. It’s been like this for a while.

  5. Wasent the whole purpose of this ride to raise awareness for biking? It’s a shame it’s takes an accident to hammer home this point ! Rides like this are necessary to raise even more awareness.

    I hope for future rides there will be more chaperoneing and police escorting .

  6. A little detail for Fred above, who seems to think Central and Prospect Parks are closed to motor traffic….

    “The four Central Park transverse roads remain open to motor vehicles. The following Park Drives are open to motor vehicles during these times, except on holidays (other limited vehicle access may be permitted for special events or official vehicles):

    West Drive, from 72nd Street south to Central Park South and 7th Avenue, for high occupancy vehicles (HOVs) only: Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 10 AM
    Center Drive/East Drive, between the 6th Avenue entrance on Park South and east 72nd Street: Monday to Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM
    Terrace Drive, from 72nd Street to West Drive South: Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 10 AM”

    ….and as of right now, there are cars driving in Prospect Park. It was closed to cars for two months out of the entire year.

    “The City closed Prospect Park and Central Park to cars….” is in reality not true. It’s a misrepresentation.

  7. @Stew Hammond
    Ride organizer (Transportation Alternatives) had city permits for this route, which was well known in advance to the authorities. This is an annual ride, organized now for 28 years, and takes a year to organize. Don’t put this on the organizers not following procedures etc. They do. They & their volunteers also rode the full route multiple times, incl. the day prior to the event. It really is suspicious that the fence went up seemingly hours before the event / late Saturday or early Sunday.

  8. This is why I haven’t done the Century. You pay money for a number that serves as a target on your back, ride incredibly hostile streets, and get no protection whatsoever. I wish city officials would learn a thing or two from cities that actually care about walking and cycling.

  9. Just imagine the outrage if that fence was built on the car lanes instead of the bike path. There would have to be a good explanation for that. With this, it seems that we won’t get any explanation or than it was probably the organizers’ faults.

  10. You bikers want all these rights but cant even stop at a red light thsn mske a big deal when u get hit by a car if u want rights as a car follow the same laws that cars have to follow

  11. I have to say, the Century ride is not recommended. Who wants to ride stop & go, on a poorly marked course, for 100 miles?? Not to mention walking all the bridges, that sucked. I felt like the only person on the ride who downloaded the route via GPS and all the “marshals” were asking me where to go! Like WTF.

    Also, I’m really just pissed there was no beer at the finish. Major WTF!


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