New Concrete Barrier at Citi Bike Station Causes Crashes, Witnesses Say

By Heather Holland on October 30, 2013 6:53am 

 A man was knocked into unconscious when he rode his Citi Bike into a newly installed barrier at East 56th Street and Madison Avenue, witnesses and officials said.
A man was knocked into unconscious when he rode his Citi Bike into a newly installed barrier at East 56th Street and Madison Avenue, witnesses and officials said.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

MIDTOWN EAST — A newly installed concrete barrier outside a Citi Bike station is tripping up cyclists, sending them flying over handlebars and crashing down to the pavement, witnesses to two recent crashes told DNAinfo New York.

The barrier — which is several inches high and extends past the Citi Bike kiosk and into the bike lane on East 56th Street near Madison Avenue — was installed about a week ago, local workers said.

Last Friday, a man riding a Citi Bike east along 56th Street hit the barrier about 11 a.m. and was knocked unconscious in his fall, FDNY officials and witnesses said. 

"He was completely airborne,” said Gowanus resident Vince D, who was standing nearby when the crash happened and declined to give his last name.

"He flailed through the air and hit the pavement on his face like a ton of bricks.

“There was no marking, no signage and certainly no poles," said Vince D, referring to the concrete barrier. "The guy just plain didn’t see it. You do not expect someone to put a concrete barrier 6 inches high on a bike path at a crowded intersection."

The man, who witnesses said was not wearing a helmet, was unconscious when EMS arrived and rushed to Cornell Hospital, according to the FDNY.

The NYPD did not have information about the incident.

A Citi Bike representative referred questions to the city's Department of Transportation, which did not respond to requests for comment.

While most Citi Bike stations in the area do not have a similar barrier, one is also installed at the kiosk at 56th Street and Third Avenue, at the end of the row of bike docks.

Another witness to last Friday morning's crash, a truck driver who was parked on East 56th Street, said he saw an additional accident about an hour earlier, in which a cyclist hit the same barrier, flipped over and landed on the ground. In that case, the cyclist was wearing a helmet and did not appear to be seriously injured, the truck driver said.

“That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen,” said the witness, who declined to give his name. “If that hadn’t been there, that guy would never have gotten hurt.”

Shortly after the second accident on Friday, a police officer sprayed the portion of the concrete barrier that sticks into the bike lane with bright orange paint.

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