June 21, 2006--Police have been asking cyclists to stop at red lights in Central Park, reported cyclists this Wednesday, and have been handing our cards containing rules of the road.
The effort is being dubbed by police as an attempt to reduce the morning rush dangers of multiple users, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists in the heavily trafficked west drive from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning.
The police action took place primarily at 81st Street and the West Drive, where cyclists were being stopped and handed a card explaining traffic rules for cyclists. Pedestrians wanting to cross the roadway were also being held at their red light.
However, after that intersection, "cyclists were just blowing through all the red lights," reported Strictly Bicycles Team rider Adam Crane.
Police told Mr. Crane that their actions were being taken to stem the rise in accidents between pedestrians and cyclists. An 8-year-old girl was hit in a crosswalk in Central Park about 4 weeks ago, according to police. The cyclist was running a red light in an intersection, and the girl was blinded in one eye as a result of her injuries.
Also about one year ago, a homeless man was struck by a cyclist near the Boathouse, who was racing in a time trial in the early morning hours. He struck his head on the pavement and later died.
An 80-year-old cyclist, Dr. Sabert Basecu, a psychiatrist and post-doctoral professor at New York University, was also killed in May of this year when a runner verged into his path.
More on this storycoming up.
This story was reported on the scene by Adam Crane, with contributions from Richard Rosenthal.