Seattle man recalls recent bike ride on NYC trail

KING 5's Heather Graf reports.

For a Seattle man, the New York City bike path where Tuesday's attack took place is a familiar one.  Ryan Packer took that same route just last Friday, while on vacation in New York.

Packer said he considers the popular path along the Hudson River to be one of the best bicycle paths he's ever been on.

"It's completely separated from traffic, so it's really comfortable to ride and there are bike share stations all along it.  It's just a really pleasant ride, especially on a beautiful day like we had," he recalled.

But he says those memories are now overshadowed by the news that a suspected terrorist drove a rented truck onto the bike path on Tuesday.

"I keep thinking about the contrast in how much fun I was having just last Friday," he said.  "And to see this today."

The man behind the wheel of the truck allegedly plowed into pedestrians and cyclists on purpose, killing at least eight and injuring many others.

"I saw the news today and I looked at the location, and I said to myself, wow I was just biking on there on Friday, and I would've been one of those people who was hit by the truck.  I went online and saw photos of the Citi Bikes that were just completely smashed," he said.

The blue Citi Bikes he's referring to are part of New York City's official bike sharing system.

Packer says the mangled wreckage of the blue Citi Bikes stood out to him in images from the scene since he used one of those bikes just days earlier.

"I can't imagine, I can't imagine how hard it would be to have to dive out of the way of this truck speeding down the path," he said.

Packer is also a volunteer advocate writer for The Urbanist in Seattle.  His focus? Pedestrian and bike safety.

He says the New York attack is something he'll carry with him on bicycle rides throughout Seattle.  He also believes the attack will end up influencing future conversations about the design of bike paths in this city.

"It's a good question to try and think about what to do with our separated trails, in terms of making them less susceptible to an instance like this," he said.  "It's not enough to simply depend on people to behave in the right way.  We have to design facilities that enforce the behavior we want."

© 2017 KING-TV


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