Woman in Critical Condition After Being Hit by Bicyclist in Central Park: Police

A woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a bicyclist in Central Park Thursday, police say.

The 59-year-old woman, from Fairfield, Connecticut, was hit by a bicyclist at West Drive and 63rd Street inside the park at about 5 p.m., according to police.

She fell to the ground and suffered head trauma, police said. She was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she's listed in critical condition.

Police say the 31-year-old cyclist, who stayed at the scene, had minor shoulder and hand injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the cyclist was riding in the park's bike lane and hit the woman while swerving to avoid other pedestrians, according to the NYPD.

Laura Newman of Jackson Heights, Queens, who was bicycling in Central Park Thursday evening, said it was "heartbreaking" to hear about the accident.

"We don't expect for these kinds of injuries to be happening in Central Park," she said.

She added, "It's rare for a pedestrian to be injured very seriously, and I hope that not all cyclists are indicted, because most of us ride very safely and are very protective of pedestrians."

On Friday, police were out in force in the park, issuing tickets to cyclists for infractions such as running red lights or biking with headphones on. Officers also handed out pamphlets with bicycle safety tips and rules, like headlight requirements and lane use.

Some cyclists said they saw the ticket blitz as a way to prevent further tragedy.

"I think that it's necessary that they have to do that," said Amy Arpadi. "Bikes can kill."

Last month, the NYPD conducted a cycling enforcement campaign, issuing 4,300 tickets to cyclists during a two-week period, for violations like failing to yield to pedestrians and disobeying traffic signals.

"Making our streets safer means raising the bar for everyone's conduct -- cyclists included," said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We will continue to combine enforcement, education and better engineering to reduce injuries and fatalities on our streets."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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