BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | A woman who was in a lengthy coma after being hit by a wrong-way Citi Bike this past fall is reportedly doing better.
According to police, the 59-year-old was crossing Second Avenue at 38th Street in Murray Hill on Sept. 15 around 7:30 a.m. when she was struck in the bike lane by a regular, pedal-powered Citi Bike going northbound on the one-way, southbound street. (The Village Sun previously incorrectly reported that the cyclist was riding an electric Citi Bike.)
The woman fell and struck her head, suffering severe head trauma. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, reportedly lingering in a coma for several months.
A police spokesperson said the woman’s family on Dec. 6 told police that her condition had “improved.”
In addition, the cyclist was tracked down after what the police spokesperson said was “a lot of investigation” by the department’s Collision Investigation Squad. A 62-year-old Manhattan man, he was given summonses for riding in the wrong direction and running a red light.
Police would not divulge the woman’s identity, but the spokesperson shared that, according to the incident report, she was apparently leaving work and may have been wearing hospital scrubs. So it’s possible she might have been coming off an overnight shift at New York University Langone Hospital or another N.Y.U. medical facility in the area. N.Y.U. Langone did not respond to a request for information.
The Village Sun was able to find out that the woman lives at an apartment building two blocks from the spot of the collision. A doorman said she had resided there for a year or two.
Workers at Le Jardin Rose, a flower shop across the street from where the woman was hit, said police viewed the store’s security video of the incident. One of the workers, who also viewed the video, said the woman fell and hit the back of her head on the ground, possibly the curb, which at that spot has a metal sheathing. She said it was clearly a Citi Bike, a non-electric one. The worker said the video showed, that after knocking the woman down, the cyclist stayed at the scene until an ambulance arrived. When the ambulance took the victim to the hospital, the cyclist pedaled off. She said that, according to the victim’s brother-in-law, who has stopped into the store at least twice, the cyclist was going to the hospital to check on the woman’s condition. Police showed up at the collision scene a couple of minutes after the cyclist had left.
The flower shop worker said the victim’s brother-in-law most recently came into the store a little before Christmas and asked the owner for a copy of the security video. The victim had just come out of a coma “the day before,” the employee said.
“He wanted the video because they don’t want to convict the guy — and to pay the hospital bills,” she said.
The employee said she sees accidents all the time outside the store in the busy Second Avenue bike lane.
“Every week — one a week,” she said. “All kinds of bikes.”
She noted a bicycle delivery worker once even hit her, hurting her arm.
Another local merchant, Mike, owner of the nearby East Side Barber Shop, who only gave his first name, said the brother-in-law and the flower shop owner both got haircuts there at the same time one day before Christmas, during which they discussed the incident and the woman, who unfortunately still has not made a full recovery.
“The brother-in-law said she’s recovered but not [doing] well,” the barber said, as he wobbled a hand by the side of his head.
The incident has parallels to a Citi Bike collision in Chinatown on Sept. 5, when Priscilla Loke, 69, a beloved local preschool teacher, was hit by an electric Citi Bike, which is heavier and faster than a regular bike-share bike. Unlike the Murray Hill victim, though, Loke did not survive being knocked down. The cyclist — whom police let go at the scene — was eventually found and given a ticket for running a red light. He was hit with the maximum penalty — a $200 fine.