New York City Traffic

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 6.39.22 PMA visual art student filmed a New York City intersection (Park Avenue and 28th Street), in an attempt to show “long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks.”

I’ve ridden my bike all over the city, but usually keep to the much quieter West Village. This video was jawdropping!

(Top photo by The Sartorialist)

  1. you have a great information and of course I like the pictures this sport is one I like

  2. I ride my bike to work most days in our sleepy beach town…If my husband gets into an MFA program at either Hunter or Columbia and we move to New York, there’s no way in hell I’ll ride my bike in the city.

  3. jaw dropping indeed – madness!

  4. Jay-walking also happens here in my country.. sometimes worst happen.

  5. incredible.

  6. Oh dear, it’s scary to see so many near misses all in under 5 mins *puts helmet on tightly*

  7. This video is hilarious and gutwrenching at the same time. It’s amazing what people think they can get away with. I have seen cyclists do crazy things like that here in Australia. But that Truck just really went for it!

  8. I agree with what AnastasiaC said above. jaywalking is not nearly as bad where I live (Toronto) but I have still been doored, etc. I couldn’t even imagine riding my bike in NYC. It looked too scary imo. But I didn’t see too many cars parked in bike lanes. I couldn’t imagine driving in NYC for that matter either. I was expecting to see accidents everywhere I went.

  9. OMG that is horrible. I work doing injury claims from motor vehicle accidents in Australia. 4 people die a day?! that is awful.

  10. we noticed that whilst holidaying in NYC! crazy! scary,…everyone is in a mad rush to be somewhere. by the end of our 2wk trip we were doing the same exact thing – ignoring lights, crossing in front of stopped cars haha…if you cant beat them join them!

  11. Hi Joanna, coming from little old Perth in Western Australia this gave me anxiety just looking at it :-)

  12. SK says...

    Yikes!! This is pretty scary! I just came back from the Art Walk in Downtown LA and saw a few j-walking pedestrians get tickets from the LAPD. I’ve heard that the fines are pretty hefty!

  13. So, I can’t tell if people are shouting things at one another beside the one man who seems to be giving the finger to a car. but one difference I see between the east coast vs the west coast (as I’m in LA) is that east coasters just figure a way out of the cluster-fu*&. Where here I find people sit there they can’t figure a way to wiggle out and it creates a total jam. It’s unsafe and awful but at least they all keep moving.

    very interesting video.

  14. how ironic, i walked past you yesterday while you were on your bike w. your bebe on 14th st. i would have said hello, but was rushing to a yoga class. i know that intersection only too well as i work down the block. thanks for posting this video, the overhead pov gives wonderful clarity to the craziness of nyc traffic.

  15. cray-zay! i bet san fran would be similarly cringe-inducing… neat project, neatly executed.

  16. This is my intersection at the subway! They got it on a good day.

  17. I hate when people decide that getting where they want to go is more important than anyone else’s desires to get where they want to go (and safely).

    There are only a few people who need to get somewhere more than anyone else, and those people are riding in ambulances or other emergency vehicles. People not yielding to them are even worse, and that happens all the time.

  18. WOWZA!! I thought Houston was bad!!!!

  19. Concept is fantastic, Video freaks me out. I’m awe struck that people rarely moved out of the way… Definitely speaks to the “culture” part.

  20. Good LORD. Me, my legs, my car, and my bicycle are all staying indoors for ever and ever.

  21. eeps! this is a little bit of a sidenote, but i was wondering how you worked up the nerve to bike around nyc? (especially since you describe yourself as the cautious type!) i live in seattle, a much smaller city, and i’d love to get a bike but i’m pretty intimidated to ride in traffic!

  22. I just bought this bike in cream about a mth ago. I adore it! Love that you posted it.

  23. HOLY COW. I know I’m a bad pedestrian, but I’m too scared to be a bad cyclist. I behave myself on my bike.

    Everyone is very well behaved on the streets in the Netherlands. Cyclists have their own designated stop lights (and lanes of course)!

  24. Holy smokes! This is nuts. The music is pretty perfect, though!

  25. JV says...

    Hey Joanna we LOVE you and A CUP OF JO!! New Amsterdam Bicycle Show 2012!! 5/4 and 5. You should speak at Bikelandia!

  26. I used to live in Seattle where walkers obey the “walk/do’t walk” traffic signals most of the time. Now in Boston, people look at me funny if I wait for the “walk” signal.

  27. that is seriously insane! i’m going to give it a whirl this weekend on my green vintage schwinn! :)

  28. Anonymous says...

    WOW! Be careful out there! Especially with a stroller paving the way!

  29. I can’t believe some of the bikers are even weaving through traffic against the traffic! I cycle to and from work in Dublin every day and it’s a mean world out there! Pedestrians are usually fairly friendly but man, some bikers are awfully tough on each other!

  30. on my word!!!!! makes me want to stop j-walking. ;)

  31. oh my! I plan to walk.. so i’ll have to watch myself!

  32. I used to work a few blocks away from that corner and it was insane at all times. Its amazing what us NYers deal with on a daily basis!

  33. Wow, lots of close calls… scary!

  34. What’s funny is that this is the intersection of my office–I cross one way or the other (28th or Park) all the time–and it seems like a mildly busy intersection (not crazy at all for NY!). Looks so different from this vantage point!

  35. My goodness! I’m constantly worried about hitting a cyclist + being hit. I suppose I need to keep to the quiet neighborhoods of Denver!


  36. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves are bike riders who don’t obey traffic laws (not sure of NY but here in CA it’s the law). I understand not wanting to stop at every stop sign, but at least slow down and acknowledge that there’s a car! I will always let a bike rider go ahead but have almost hit a few who have flown by while I was moving forward in my car. Makes me pissy.

    On the flip side, I hate it when cars don’t stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings (at least, that’s what I call them from having lived in London). It’s also the law, and no one seems to do it.

    SF for sure is the scariest city as a pedestrian.

  37. Interesting project. Someone should replicate this around the different US major cities to see which cities are the worst.

  38. WOW. amazing to see our risky behavior from above. we just moved out of the city, and i can’t say that i miss this. although, in my new town, i find myself inching out into the street with impatience to cross. :) old habits die hard.

  39. Oh my gosh. This is a crazy video. I’m also surprised when I go to New York and there are not more accidents. Felt the same way in Rome. That city is crazy.

  40. I have been so surprised by the increasingly audacious bikers in this city!! I have had more close calls with bikers ignoring rules of the road in the past year than cars in my entire lifetime.

  41. Thank you so much for this. I hate it when pedestrians say “well, I have the right of way.” Well, yeah, but you’re life is horrible after being hit by a car. Sigh.

  42. Anonymous says...

    This happens in every street in Buenos Aires, is unfortunate really.

  43. That is outrageous! I would love to see a close u of people’s reactions as those little “interactions” were happening. I live in Portland where bicycle culture is HUGE. I mostly stick to walking downtown but when I do drive it infuriates me that the cyclists don’t follow the same rules of the road that cars do (running red lights, going the wrong direction, weaving in traffic, not staying in the bike lanes – which are usually a full half of the road). It just makes it so dangerous for everyone!

  44. I’m with Cassandra— I was cringing with my shoulders tensed the entire time I was watching that video. Holy smokes. Let’s try not to kill each other, ya?

  45. no way, erica! that is so sad!!!! many, many cyclists are really careful, but then there are those who aren’t. they give the rest of us a bad name. how heartbreaking for that poor woman.

  46. jawdropping is right, jo. thanks for sharing this. i was out on a leisurely date the other night when a cyclist running a red light hit a pregnant woman in a crosswalk. i’m heartbroken for this woman. her baby is fine, but she has serious damage to her teeth and high medical bills. i am so heartbroken about it.

  47. Uhmm…those bicyclists riding into oncoming traffic!? And I was cringing, just bracing myself for one of those drivers to hit a pedestrian. People are crazy lol.

  48. ps. and in berlin, people REALLY follow the rules. no one would cross a street if they didn’t have the green light–even if there’s not a car in sight. they just wait for their turn.

  49. you know which city is AMAZING AMAZING for bikes? Berlin. their bike system is ridiculously awesome. there are big bike paths on almost every single road.

  50. JV, we loved the new amsterdam bike show!

  51. Wow that’s scary… actually it reminds me of my days in Paris, same thing really, horrible traffic, cars not paying too much attention, crazy scooters poping out of nowhere all the time and pedestrians who don’t wait their turn to cross the street… I actually found people to be much more respectful of each other on the road when I moved to the US (ok Boston is NOT New York :)
    And ok what’s up with that truck ?

  52. This kills me. We live on a very wide sidewalk with lots and lots of constant foot traffic, and 99% of ppl on bikes consider themselves no different than a pedestrian even though they are going ten times as fast. It is so dangerous!

  53. Crazy! Houston is, unfortunately, not pedestrian or bike friendly. :/ But then again, pedestrians and bikers commit all of the above here a lot too.

  54. JV says...

    Whoa! I work one block from this intersection and I see this mayhem every day! I also organize the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show here in NYC. This video needs to be SHARED.

  55. i know, so scary when the truck suddenly does a U turn. what the?

  56. even walking around 28th street is dangerous with all the traffic & bikers

  57. Absolutely brilliant – yet horrifying!


  58. Oh my goodness, that’s scary!

  59. That really is jaw dropping.

  60. Wow… that’s crazy.

    I don’t remember if he called it “traffic culture” but this topic is so interesting. …how each city/state/country has their own practices- even when it comes to crossing the street, riding a bike, driving!