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Greenpoint Bridge gives this cyclist 40 stitches!

The Brooklyn Paper

The city is about to resurface the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, but for Queens cyclist, Rafael Aviles, it is too little too late.

On May 22, Aviles flew over his handlebars and skidded on the asphalt after his front wheel wedged into a two-inch crack in the middle of the cratered surface of the forelorn bridge.

“I was riding normally,” said Aviles. “My front wheel went into a crack. It got stuck in little crack. I flew in the air.”

Aviles was treated for 12 hours at a hospital, where he received 40 stitches and was treated for a fractured hand and nerve damage on his neck. If that weren’t enough, he lost his bike, forced to leave it at the bridge when he was picked up.

“My injuries were bad,” said Aviles. “I was bleeding all over my face, but I was conscious the whole time.”

Aviles said he was riding in the middle of the bridge because he felt safer from the trucks that dominate the span, which has no painted bike lane.

“There was a lot of glass on the right side and [drivers] weren’t letting me ride along the right side of the bridge, so I rode in the middle,” said Aviles.

The bridge’s pockmarked surface and gaps are notorious to the cycling community, whose members have complained for several years. This month, the city will begin resurfacing the bridge, closing one lane of traffic for two weeks. The entire process is expected to take place over the next nine months, with the painting of new bicycle lanes on both sides of traffic the final step.

Aviles, who describes himself as “addicted to bicycles,” hopes that his accident will at least spare others from a similar fate. He said he would continue to use the bridge because it is the fastest way to get to Williamsburg from his home in Jackson Heights.

“I’m not looking to make a lot of money [suing the city],” said Aviles. “I just want to make sure they cover the crack and nobody gets hurt again.”

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HankL from Greenpoint says:
Had Mr. Aviles followed the intructions that are posted on the entrance of the Greenpoint Ave. bridge he would not have sustained any injury to himself. The signs cleary states: "BIKERS MUST DISMOUNT THEIR BIKE AND WALK THE BRIDGE"
He has no one to blame but himself for not following traffic regulation. On top of his injuries he should also be fined for not obying traffic regulation.
June 9, 2010, 5:17 am
Mike from Greenpoint says:
@Hattie, HankL, go somewhere else with your hatred and ignorance.

Can't wait for the bike lane to go in!
June 9, 2010, 7:46 am
Hopper from Los S-S says:
"BIKERS MUST DISMOUNT THEIR BIKE AND WALK THE BRIDGE." Sounds like the end of Rafael's case to me. That ain't hatred. That's reality.
June 9, 2010, 10:08 am
Mike from Ft Greene says:
That's actually not true at all. Cyclists are required to dismount and walk if they want to use the sidewalk. But they ARE allowed to ride across the roadway of the bridge. (Not that I'd recommend doing so -- it's very dangerous.)
June 9, 2010, 10:51 am
jim from greenpoint says:
that's not a bikr lane!!On zebra line you are prohibited to drive just follow rules you will be fine….
June 9, 2010, 10:58 am
Steve from Chelsea says:
Cars aren't allowed to right in that yellow zone. If he's following car rules and ignoring the "Dismount your bike sign", he shouldn't have been in that space. Sorry he got injured but, really.
June 9, 2010, 12:09 pm
Chris from Jackson Heights says:
Poor guy. To be honest i've ridden across that bridge without issue for years. I guess this guy is accident prone like some people I know. I always look at the road infront of me to avoid these types of problems.
June 9, 2010, 1:07 pm
lic lovr says:
i'm all for biking and glad they are adding lanes but facts are facts. he was riding where he shouldn't have been and furthermore, that's not a crack - its a joint (typically required on this type of bridge construction) that will most likely remain in place after the resurfacing.
June 9, 2010, 2:32 pm
mike from prospect heights says:
Better look up the definition of crack, cause this guy sure isn't pointing to one, that would be an expansion joint.
June 10, 2010, 2:46 am
Carrie from Park Slope says:
I can only agree with all of the others, he rode over an expansion joint, while riding on a part of the bridge that was clearly marked as an area that shouldn't be driven on. I'm not glad that this happened, but it's obviously his own fault. I think that there should be a bike line, but just because there isn't one doesn't mean that you should drive on an unsafe part of the road that isn't intended for bikes. Really, just walk your bike over the bridge if you are too scared to ride with the traffic.
June 10, 2010, 4:42 am
JZ from Bushwick says:
I'm not sure how can anyone be glad that this happen to anyone, regardless who is at fault this guy is letting everyone else know what actually happen to him. It looks like the bridge should have better warning signs for everyone to see. Being a commercial area just about anywhere you ride including bike lines are not safe in this area. Just hope this does not happen to anyone else.
June 10, 2010, 6:22 am
Maria Rodriguez from Brooklyn says:
I will like to express my feelings in reference to Mr. Aviles matter to let you know that I am glad that this gentleman was brave to do article on this and make sure that this doesn't happen to anyone again. After that incident they will go to fix that bridge. God Bless Mr. Aviles and I hope you get better soon
June 17, 2010, 3:56 pm
Leslie Sanchez from Washington Heights says:
By reading this article Mr. Aviles rode on this lane cause otherwise the sides of that bridge are messed up. I also heard of other cases, can they put attention to this matter and FIX THE GREENPOINT BRIDGE,

Thanks Rafael for your article, God Bless You
June 17, 2010, 4 pm
Sharona from Davenport says:
The gentleman in question should have walked his bike across the bridge as per the traffic regulations. When are these out of control bikers going to be held accountable for their actions. They should follow all traffic laws, not run red lights and stop signs and not ride the wrong way on one way streets and not ride in the middle of the road. Bikers are a big part of the problem. Perhaps when the follow the rules, less accidents will happen.
June 18, 2010, 1:44 pm
MA from Queens says:
I just want to express my sympathy to Mr. Aviles. He is alive thanks to the Lord. Also an example to the community by expressing to us what he went thru. I know that he is not looking for money cause I know the person very well, he is looking after people that doesn't go through and warning people of his experience.
June 18, 2010, 3:12 pm
BZ from Queens says:
Mr. Aviles is not blaming anyone for this, also if I was him I would have done the same, when I go through that bridge it is very dangerous even walking in any sides. I hope that they could fix that dawn bridge or they could get another route safer for the bikers, pedestrians and even drivers
June 18, 2010, 3:19 pm
jkh from Hell's Kitchen says:
Haters, stop blaming Aviles for not walking. As others have posted, that sign only applies to the sidewalk. As for riding in the center, the problem is that the out-of-control road ragers forced him into an unsafe part of the bridge. Even so, he's not complaining about the drivers; he just wants that unsafe bridge element fixed. Lots of bridges have expansion joints that do not cause bikes to crash.
July 15, 2010, 10:23 am
t from greenpoint ave says:
To be honest with everyone I agree the signs do say to dismount and walk your bike across the bridge. Also who in their right mind would ride in the middle of the bridge to begin with like are you on crack? With cars flying by on each side you gotta have guts to do that. I drive across that bridge 50 times a day. Now that they wanna make it one lane traffic back ups are gonna be miles long just because these cyclists want a lane to ride in. In fact half of them don't use the bike lanes to begin with. It wasn't the bridge that made him flip over it was his own stupidity.

Oct. 6, 2010, 7:46 am
Phil from Flushing says:
Is LMAO at the ignorant biker who rode over an expansion joint in the middle of traffic considered "abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, or threatening"?
Jan. 31, 2011, 2:14 pm
G from Greenpoint says:
THE SIGN ONLY APPLIES TO THE SIDEWALK. RIDING OVER THE BRIDGE IS LEGAL.

THE SIGN ONLY APPLIED TO THE SIDEWALK. RIDING OVER THE BRIDGE IS LEGAL.

THE SIGN ONLY APPLIED TO THE SIDEWALK. RIDING OVER THE BRIDGE IS LEGAL.

is that clear now?
April 5, 2011, 2:25 pm

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