Queens mom Alison O’Reilly took a flight in December — but not the kind that requires a TSA screening.
O’Reilly, 54, was walking along the Queensboro Bridge to her job in Manhattan when a moped illegally using the pedestrian and bike lane smashed into her.
“I flew like a rag doll,” the Sunnyside nursing assistant and mom of a teenage daughter recalled of the Dec. 14 crash. “If something happened to me, I’m a widow. It unnerved me a little bit.”
Pedestrians face a particularly treacherous trek along the 59th Street bridge — because they’re forced to share a narrow, two-lane strip with bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters.
That leaves little room for mopeds — which are often spotted zipping across the lane, even though they, motorcycles and other vehicles that require DMV registration are banned from using it.
On a recent morning, The Post observed at least 36 mopeds and motorcycles crossing the bridge alongside bikers and walkers in just one hour. A day later, The Post witnessed 31 in an hour.
The NYPD and former Mayor Bill de Blasio have repeatedly promised to crack down on the illegal — and dangerous — jaunts.
In June, de Blasio had said he would “talk to our transportation commissioner right away” when informed of the problems on the Queensboro Bridge, but it’s not clear what has been done to improve the harrowing journey along the narrow path.
The Queens-side entrance of the lane has no signage indicating that motorcycles and mopeds must ride alongside cars.
Last year, there were 11 reported crashes involving “bicycles or other e-devices” on the bridge, according to NYPD data, though many crashes go unreported. Meanwhile, the number of deaths involving illegal moped riders on city streets rose from just one in 2019 and three in 2020 to 11 in 2021.
Sunnyside residents Jennifer Paras and Kay, who declined to give her last name, often bike across the Queensboro both for fun and commuting purposes. But the two fear crossing paths with a moped.
Recently, a friend of theirs was hit while cycling on the bridge and had to undergo brain surgery.
“It’s really dangerous,” Kay said of the motorcycles and mopeds trying to share the lane with her and other pedestrians. “They’re not supposed to be there, but they always are.”
Paras said mopeds fly up the bike line at 40 miles per hour, sometimes in the wrong direction. By comparison, she said cyclists are often traveling at maybe seven to 10 miles per hour while going uphill.
“They yell at you. They aren’t even wearing helmets,” she said of the moped drivers.
An NYPD spokesperson said in a statement that “the Transportation Bureau has conducted “extensive outreach and education” at the Queens entrance of the bridge.
Last week, the department posted pictures on its Twitter of an outreach team at Queens Plaza North educating the public about the bridge rules.
“Extensive enforcement initiatives were performed and will continue at this location in 2022,” the spokesperson for the department said.
Revel scooters were fully banned from using the Queensboro Bridge in September, in part because of the widespread illegal use of the bike lanes, the Department of Transportation said at the time.
A DOT spokesperson said the agency is working with the cops to stop the sale of illegal mopeds before they hit the streets.
“The City is educating e-device riders on the rules of the road so they can safely take advantage of these important, alternative forms of transportation,” the DOT said.
O’Reilly’s crash left her with two scraped knees, a bruised elbow and a welt the size of a softball on her head — but she felt lucky her injuries weren’t worse.
She said an ambulance showed up about 20 minutes later but the police never came and the moped driver drove off without consequences.
Before the accident, O’Reilly– who said she’s been clipped multiple times before by mopeds — was always careful on her daily commute, walking very close to the wall.
But now, she’s opting for a safer way of getting to work.
“I’m so angry because I really do enjoy my walk, and them big moped things shouldn’t be on the walkway,” she said.
“I won’t walk across for a while I think. I’ll be taking the bus.”
Additional reporting contributed by Craig McCarthy