PLEASE SUPPORT W42ST

W42ST runs on limited resources to keep Hell’s Kitchen connected, updated and upbeat. Access is totally free. Please consider supporting what we do so that we can continue our work!

A 66-year-old Hell’s Kitchen resident has died nearly a month after an e-bike accident outside the Javits Center, according to police.

Painting a new bike lane on 11th Avenue in October 2021. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

Kwok Kwan was doored by a car passenger on 11th Avenue and W37th Street at around 11am on Sunday, January 16. He died of his injuries in hospital on February 11. Kwan’s bike collided with the rear passenger door of a Toyota Prius and fell to the street. He suffered head injuries and was initially taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital. Police said that Kwan lived at The Westport on the corner of 10th Avenue and W56th Street.

Streetsblog reported this morning that neither the 42-year-old driver nor his passenger were summonsed. In just the three blocks near the convention center where Kwan was struck, there have been 90 reported crashes since January 2019, injuring four cyclists, eight pedestrians and 17 motorists. The Department of Transport records show that this is the first cyclist death of 2022. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Streetsblog also reported that “On the larger mile-and-a-half stretch from W57th Street to the end of 11th Avenue at West Street, there have been 913 reported crashes over the same three-year period, injuring 32 cyclists, 48 pedestrians and 118 motorists, with a cyclist and a pedestrian being killed.”

Earlier this month, local council member Erik Bottcher held a press conference in Hell’s Kitchen about improving bike safety on 10th and 11th Avenues. In October last year, the city extended a bike lane on 11th Avenue heading from W42nd Street toward the Javits Center. Many at the time made the point that this gave little protection to cyclists without the addition of Jersey barriers.

MCB4 Chair Jeffrey LeFrancois speaking at a press conference about bike lanes earlier this month. Photo: Phil O’Brien

This afternoon, Jeffrey LeFrancois, the Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, reacted to the news, saying: “Another preventable death of a cyclist because New York City is decades behind in planning for safety for all users of the street, not just vehicles — and it’s devastating. Manhattan Community Board 4 has a long history of advocating for safety first in all the city’s planning. We’re losing neighbors at an alarming rate because change in the name of safety takes so long.”

Local activist Christine Berthet from CHEKPEDS told us: “This is so upsetting but not surprising: The transition where the cyclist goes from the protected bike lane to traffic chaos is extremely dangerous, as the awareness does not switch fast enough. We hope New York City Department of Transport will extend the protected bike lane on 11th Avenue from W38th to W23rd very soon.”

CHEKPEDS Christine Berthet at the bike lane press conference in Hell’s Kitchen. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Electric bikes are banned from the Hudson River Greenway, which runs parallel to 11th Avenue and is the busiest bike path in the country. It’s unclear whether Kwan had taken the 11th Avenue option on his e-bike because of that.

Join the Conversation

6 Comments

  1. In my experience as both a pedestrian and a motorist, electric bikes as well as, manual bikes are a hazard to both the drivers and the motorist or pedestrian. Too many bikers run counter to traffic even in the bike lanes. They run stop lights at will. They drive on sidewalks and go excessively fast. I always look both ways when crossing a bike lane because of a close call where a fellow going very fast nearly ran me down. He was going north on a south bound avenue. As a motorist, I have had a few near misses with electric bikes. I always keep an eye out for the errant biker who doesn’t follow the rules. It matters not how many lanes are designated for them, if they don’t follow the rules.

    1. I agree 100% with you Edwin, the people on the bikes do as they please and ignore all traffic rules. I am almost hit by a bike a few times a week. Just yesterday I watched from my window as the police tried to get a man to stop going the wrong way on 9th Ave, He yelled and screamed as if it was his right to do as he wanted. It took 3 cop cars to get him to turn around. BTW it is the first time I ever saw the police attempt to correct the behavior of someone riding a bike. Personally I think every bike needs to be registered and have a chip in it so it can be monitored like cars are.

  2. Very sorry to hear this. The bike lane at the Hudson River Park is packed with eBikes, mopeds, motorcycles and motorized scooters. I wonder how many accidents happen there daily.

  3. I’m very sorry about this. E-bikes should be banned in the city. They are much too fast, very often dark and driven by people in dark clothing going against traffic and on sidewalks. When they injure a pedestrian they are gone without any accountability. My partner was ran down and her nose broken, clothes ripped, and no recourse. The city keeps increasing bike lanes but bikes do not respect them and constantly run the lights. There is no enforcement of any rules when bikers are concerned.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.