A Citi Bike rider was stuck by an unidentified driver early Sunday morning on W51st Street and 11th Avenue, the latest in a series of serious crashes in Hell’s Kitchen.
NYPD received a 911 call at around 6:48am on Sunday morning relaying that a 30-year-old injured male was unconscious and unresponsive on W51st Street with significant trauma to his body. A bicycle was found nearby and no one else was on the scene, leaving officers to believe the suspect fled. The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital and is in critical but stable condition. The incident is currently under investigation. Other witnesses told The New York Post that the driver was in an SUV, and briefly got out of his car to look at the victim before fleeing.
The hit-and-run occurred just a day after a car crash on W42nd Street and 11th Avenue and a year after 66-year old cyclist Kwok Kwan was doored by a car passenger on 11th Avenue and W37th Street, later dying of his injuries. According to incident data collector NYC Crash Mapper, there were 542 motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian-involved crashes within the boundaries of Community Board 4 in 2022, resulting in two cyclist fatalities and 139 injuries. Shortly after Kwan’s death in February 2022, Streetsblog reported that there were 913 crashes over a three-year period on 11th Avenue between West Street and W57th Street, injuring 32 cyclists, 48 pedestrians and 118 motorists, with a cyclist and a pedestrian being killed.
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Pedestrian and cyclist safety is a hot-button issue in Hell’s Kitchen, where politicians have called for the city to fast-track the installation of pedestrian refuge islands, split-phase intersection signals to improve crossing coordination, as well as clear and protected bike lanes on busy streets. While 9th Avenue has recently gained an additional set of pedestrian walkways and a new bike lane from W50th to W59th Street, community advocates have consistently campaigned for more effective physical barriers, the build out of additional car-free bike areas — such as on the West Side Highway — and clearer intersection design to reduce risks.
Hell’s Kitchen cyclists like Charlie Todd told W42ST that in the wake of yet another serious crash, safety improvements were urgently needed. “This is a very dangerous block with zero cycling infrastructure, despite it being one block away from the busiest bike lane in the United States,” said Todd. “The DOT needs to do more to provide safe access to the Hudson River Greenway from Hell’s Kitchen. There is no crosstown protected bike route to the greenway between 55th Street and 40th Street.”
He added: “On this block on 51st Street on Sundays (when the crash occurred) DOT allows two lanes for the free storage of private vehicles and one an extra wide lane for moving vehicles and often double-parked cars. We have to stop prioritizing cars and start prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists, particularly given the extremely low rate of car ownership in our neighborhood. It is infuriating to see hit and runs like this. I can only hope that the motorist didn’t have an illegally defaced license plate and a security camera can help identify him.”
“Another preventable tragedy on our streets has occurred, and I hope this person survives,” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, chair of Manhattan Community Board 4.“Manhattan CB4 has worked incredibly hard to bring protected bike lanes and expanded walk lanes to our streets. But we’re up against the ever expanding and ever growing size of SUVs on the city’s busy, limited streets — and that’s alarming. Even with our reasonable network of protected bike lanes, drivers, and in particular on 11th Avenue, regularly intrude on cyclists’ right of way. We need safer streets for all users, and it’s a matter of design: the Department of Transportation needs to get out from behind it’s own windshield view to make our streets safe for every user, not just those who chose to drive.”
He added, “I CitiBike every day and live on 11th Avenue, two blocks from where this tragedy occurred. It took us a decade to get the bike lane installed, and we’re still dreaming of the bus lane. We know that dedicating space on streets for bike and bus lanes slows down and better manages private traffic, significantly improving safety for all users. How many more lives will be lost until our streets are complete and safe for all?”
This is a developing story and we will update it as more details become available.