Emotions are running high in New York following the removal of part of a Brooklyn bike lane by city authorities.
Critics claim the route in Bedford Avenue, South Williamsburg has been axed as a political favour to the Hasidic Jewish community there.
The community reportedly objected to it on grounds that it caused parking problems, was a danger to people getting off school buses and attracted immodestly dressed female cyclists.
Riders responded by painting the lane back in – although the city soon removed it again – holding a funeral and vigil (see video below), and threatening to hold a naked protest ride.
Bedford avenue protest
This later changed into a fully clothed protest ride – although whether this was due to a change of strategy or the snow is unclear.
One of the ride’s organisers, Heather Loop, said “We’re not trying to start a war, we’re trying to save a bike lane.”
14 blocks’ worth of lane have gone, with riders being asked to use the Kent Avenue bike lane two blocks away and the authorities saying the change is “part of ongoing bike network adjustments”.
bike lane has survived similar controversy. Barricades were threatened, fake detour signs put up and there have been lots of objections over re-routed trucks.
The installation of bike lanes in Williamsburg has been a cause of controversy for some time. Business people and drivers have been unhappy at the removal of parking spaces to make room for the bike lanes, created as part of the city’s drive to massively increase cycling.