An old red Schwinn lay crumpled at the base of a tree. A brown Chevy Impala rested 30 feet away, in the middle of George Street.
That was the scene behind a police tape-perimeter Tuesday afternoon at the corner of George and York streets. Police had the area cordoned off as they investigated a collision between a cyclist and car.
The cyclist, a woman, was hit at around 3:20 p.m. while crossing George Street headed north, according to Sgt. Marco Francia. The woman had been crossing between sidewalks on the east side of York Street.
She was taken to the hospital, where a doctor pronounced her injuries were superficial, said Francia.
The cyclist was hit by a woman driving a tan Chevy Impala. An hour after the accident, the woman was sitting on a retaining wall at the site of the accident, wearing pink scrubs and visible shaken.
Asked if she’d seen what happened, the woman replied, “I am what happened.”
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she had been driving east on George, headed to work downtown, when the cyclist “crossed against the green light. I couldn’t stop.”
A black U-lock lay in the middle of the crosswalk, marking the point of impact, some 50 feet from where the bike ended up.
Francia said Officer Matt Williams is leading the investigation, and has not yet determined who was at fault in the crash.
At about 4:45 p.m., Williams told the driver that the cyclist was going to be OK.
“That’s the only thing that matters to me,” the driver said. “Everything else can be replaced.”
What a relief that no one was seriously injured because the outcome could have been so much worse.
Cyclists should be aware that riding against traffic, riding on the sidewalk, and failing to obey traffic signals are among the most dangerous things you can do on a bicycle. In an environment without a dedicated and segregated infrastructure for bicycles, cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. This is not only common sense; it’s the law.
Drivers should be aware that in complex urban environments, cyclists and pedestrians obey the formal rules at about the same percentage as drivers do. Stop and think for a moment about how likely you are to exceed the posted speed limit by a few miles per hour, roll a stop sign, drive through a ‘yellowish’ light, make or take a short phone call, or send a quick text message and then consider that a cyclist or pedestrian is about that likely to cross against a light or in the middle of a block or not be completely attentive when crossing.
In other words, everyone should be extra careful to not only reduce their own mistakes, but to be prepared to respond to the mistakes of others.
posted by: Timothy ORourke on April 23, 2013 6:00pm
I have often experienced that the cyclists in New Haven do not follow the law as if they were driving cars, as the law requires them to do.
posted by: Walt on April 23, 2013 8:21pm
Glad all is OK now
Surprised but glad that those at the Independent printed this story
So many bikists completely ignore traffic rules that I am surprised that this does not happen more often Much worse than car drivers as I see it
With bikists in such abundance on roads near me (Ridge and Hartford Tpke) I am especially careful when I encounter them. I really do not want bikists as a grease spot on the front of my car,
Please be more careful
Read the recommendations on the Elm City Cyclists site and follow them
Both the bikists and the car folk should obey the rules and be safer
posted by: Curious on April 24, 2013 7:08am
Cycling in this town is taking your life in your hands, I tried it a few times and then gave up. You’re banned from the sidewalks, and the road traffic is crazy, no thanks.
posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on April 24, 2013 8:56am
Thanks for the thoughtful and accurate comments. Bicycles are vehicles, and their riders are subject to all the same rules: traffic flow, one-way streets, stop signs, signals, the works. And they do not belong on the sidewalk.
posted by: FairHavenRes on April 24, 2013 9:01am
I’m a daily bike commuter and I second the comments by William Kurtz—in no way is it ever safer to bike on the sidewalks or against traffic. You are part of traffic, so you need to obey the same laws. Glad to hear this cyclist is okay, but hopefully she learns from this!
posted by: EastRocker on April 25, 2013 12:56pm
I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often, between people who just ride their bikes without looking where they are going, the overaggressive drivers, and the police who refuse to enforce the law on either party. I feel safer riding in NYC than I do in New Haven. The three foot rule is all but ignored by drivers, but so is the law about not riding a bike on the sidewalk.