Last Thursday at around 11:30 a.m., Cynthia Wright, an actress who also teaches at NYU, was heading out of town, on her way to the bus station, to visit friends in the country. As she went to cross the street at 3rd and Avenue A, the light in her favor, she was looking north. Suddently, she “felt an enormous impact. Everything went black, and I was lying on the street,” she told us. She was literally picked up and “put upright” by a passerby. “I was shocked,” she said. “My jaw and face were injured, my knee was bleeding, my pants were torn.”
Then, two police officers appeared out of a large truck. “The first thing was they were screaming at me,” she said. “This happens all the time!” and “That mayor, Bloomberg, wants to put more of them on the street!” (referring to cyclists and bike lanes). They asked Wright, who is 60, if she wanted to call an ambulance, and she declined, still in shock and a bit scared of looking like a victim. In the confusion, she didn’t get the cyclist’s contact information. “I realized on a deep level I should ask the biker for his name and number, but I turned into a simpering little girl. I’m a cyclist myself. He said ‘I’m sorry’; I said, ‘No, no, I’m sorry,’ and then the conversation was interrupted,” she told us. “The police officer said, ‘It doesn’t matter anyway, the pedestrian is always in the right.'”
But no report was made. “I really think in this case the officers, for some reason which eludes me but which is personal to them, they didn’t want to make a report, clearly, or they would have asked me,” she said. “It was a business they didn’t want to be involved with. In my confused state and my desire to get away from the police, I sort of slunk away.”
Wright sustained injuries to her jaw, face, and knees, and bruised her entire tibia. Despite her knees and hands being bloody and the fact that she was stunned and having trouble walking, she got a cab, went to the bus station, bought peroxide and bandages, and continued on her trip. In the country, she saw a health-care practitioner who identified her injuries. While she was away, she called a friend and asked him to put up the sign (above, right) asking the cyclist to get in touch. She also later called the 9th Precinct; the officers she had encountered were not from there.
Her hopes in placing the sign are that the guy, who she describes as a “handsome young hipster guy” with dark hair, helmetless, and probably in his 20s, riding a black bike with a thin frame, will see it and contact her. “It’s come to me since,” she said, “If I were he, I would be willing to help this person by buying her a new pair of pants, help her with having to see the osteopathic physician, and the other work.”
The whole thing is a bit of a blur, still, and probably always will be: “I don’t know how it happened that he hit me. I can only imagine…I ride a bicycle, and I have gone through red lights. I know there are those who stop and wait, I’m not one of them. But I don’t think he slowed down; he hit me really hard. Because there were no cars coming, he may have decided he could get though the light.”
Wright does not agree with the cops’ anti-cyclist ideology, though. “Just as dangerous as cyclists, there are a lot of pedestrians in the city who are listening to music, looking intently at a text message they received, and they step into bike lanes and into the street when the light is red and don’t acknowledge that could be dangerous to them and the cyclist. it unnerves me. Everybody — cars, cyclists, people not on bicycles — need to pay more attention. It is clearly getting more dangerous for everybody. But, I see more cyclists paying attention to rules, and I am going to do that now, too.”