Would You and Your Kids Bike on PPW Without Physical Separation?


Clarence posted these clips from yesterday’s family ride on Prospect Park West, asking us to imagine the street as bike lane opponents would have it — with only a striped, un-protected lane to separate cyclists from traffic. I can’t really picture families biking on such a street. Can you?

Speaking of yesterday’s ride, the absence of coverage in the major dailies today has been rather stunning. The event attracted about 750 people — pretty significant, no? And yet, no citywide daily picked it up except for the Post, which of course vastly underestimated attendance.

We’ve come to expect that from the Post, so really, I’m looking at you, New York Times. Last December the Times ran a story about bike lane crankiness featuring a “rally” that attracted all of five or six people upset over the new protected bike lanes on the East Side. Gotta wonder why yesterday’s big show of support for new bike infrastructure got snubbed.

Maybe, to the Times, a bike story isn’t a bike story if there’s no obvious conflict, but there’s another journalistic form that fits the Prospect Park West project pretty well: the trend piece. The newsworthy trend happening now is that you have kids as young as ten or eleven years old using this bike lane for transportation — to get to soccer practice in the park, for instance. The emergence of all-ages cycling infrastructure is new and it’s significant, and it could be covered as a recent addition to the city’s transportation network that is finding a foothold.

Instead — and this is a testament to Iris Weinshall, Jim Walden, and the NBBL crew — we have a lot of stories about a frivolous lawsuit.

  • Eric McClure

    Another big lie disspelled: check the footage of freely flowing traffic, moving along at or slightly below the speed limit. Where’s all the double-parking and congestion claimed by opponents?

  • Mark

    If a rally occurs in Brooklyn, and no high paid PR firm is paid to promote it, did it really happen?

  • MFS

    With the 26% of telephone survey respondents who have ridden the PPW bike lane, the 750 people who showed up yesterday, and the 400-500 who showed up at the Community Board hearing, bike advocates could easily claim the reverse of NBBL’s claims- that DOT’s official counts vastly **undercount** the usage of the bike lane.

  • Anonymous

    Traffic was flowing, even though the ‘parade’ along the bike path was far from usual.

    But Eric, you don’t get it.. it’s the opponents who are the double-parkers. That’s why they’re opponents.

  • The whole shortie is amazing, but the moment about :20 seconds says it all. A few kids ride by, then a red car, then you see a little girl on a scooter followed by her family. If that little girl is safe riding in a separated bike lane, everyone is.

    What kind of person looks at that and decides to sue?

  • I guess the only mistake advocates made was not having a PR firm.

  • We Ride the Lanes

    I think we’re just on a completely different planet than these bike lane opponents. They think that all of those kids can and should and probably once were biking inside the park instead of on PPW. They don’t understand why you’d ever need to bike on PPW itself when it’s possible to bike inside the park. They have never used bikes for transportation, errands or getting around the neighborhood so they seemingly have no ability to understand the answers in response to these points. They are of a generation that is invisible to the wreckage that has been caused by our over-dependence and accommodation of motor vehicles. Their main concern is finding their next parking spot and how PPW looks to their eye from the penthouse of their high rise apartment.

  • Greg

    No mystery why the Times had no coverage. To them everything is political, and bike lanes are a Republican mayor’s initiative.

    If you want fair reporting from the Times, you need to get several Democratic politicians out in front of the issue.

  • No, I can’t imagine families riding on an on-road lane. I used to live in Sweden and everyone there biked, from grandmothers to fathers with toddlers. These are risk-adverse sorts of people and Sweden only has a bike culture because it provides them with lanes that protect them from traffic.

  • I don’t know how anyone would think the lane in the park is safe for kids. Wobbling along a foot away from several lanes of whizzing cars? I don’t think I’ve ever seen kids there (under their own power, that is – there are plenty of strollers.) The PPW bike lane, on the other hand, is the perfect place for a kid to ride. And you regularly see them there.

  • Anonymous

    My impression of Times coverage is that it leans anti-bike in general, from the coverage of the PPW lane issues, to their bizarre Editorial Page call for strict ticketing of cyclists based on the unsubstantiated and unquantified suggestion that cyclists pose some kind of increasing threat to the city, to printing a letter calling for licensing of all cyclists.
    I’ve been scratching my head for months. Is it anti Bloombergism? A Midtown vs. Everywhere Else myopia? Too local? Not enough celebrities?

    I suspect it may just a small part of an institutional inability to keep up with the times (see: state of newspaper industry).

  • Rachelhg

    Let my kid bike in the street without a physical separation? No way, far too dangerous. Except when we’re on PPW, we end up having to use the sidewalks for all the family biking. And we bike everywhere, as we do not own a car. We bike/scoot the kids to school, all activities, and all errands.

  • HamTech87

    Has anyone ever asked the question whether a parent would be committing a form of child abuse by letting their children ride in a Class 2 bike lane? When you look at the US Centers for Disease Control definitions of child abuse, it seems to fit the definition of “terrorizing.”
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Surveillance.pdf

  • HamTech87

    Has anyone ever asked the question whether a parent would be committing a form of child abuse by letting their children ride in a Class 2 bike lane? When you look at the US Centers for Disease Control definitions of child abuse, it seems to fit the definition of “terrorizing.”
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Surveillance.pdf

  • HamTech87

    Has anyone ever asked the question whether a parent would be committing a form of child abuse by letting their children ride in a Class 2 bike lane? When you look at the US Centers for Disease Control definitions of child abuse, it seems to fit the definition of “terrorizing.”
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Surveillance.pdf

  • wkgreen

    There is certainly a place for the painted lanes in a big crowded city like NYC, but where a wide street is bang against a park the way PPW is, with very little through cross traffic, it is perfect for a protected lane. The kids who ride on it will be the next generation of cyclists. There is so much more to learning how to ride in the city than how to start without a push and a wobble. In the pre-bike lane days on PPW my daughter, while learning to ride, actually bumped into someone on the sidewalk. Although it is technically legal for someone under 12 to ride there, it was at least as traumatic for her as it was for the person that she hit. Learning to ride in a safe designated lane teaches respect and demonstrates that there is a rightful place for every mode of travel, and PPW is now a place where kids can learn to trust their ability and feel secure in the city that they will ride in.

    It would be a crime to remove it now and have them go back to using the sidewalk. But why should they not if the respect does not go both ways? That is a different lesson; one that I would prefer that they not be forced to learn.

  • Ian Dutton

    The press prefers to hear from a dozen crazy, incoherent NIMBY warriors than large crowds of calm, well-spoken, rational people who could be your neighbor. Works every time for my local nemesis. Maybe we need to hire some zanies to make up wacko shit for our side?

  • I don’t know the area, but, could it be that you’re asking the wrong question? Perhaps it should be: “Would You and Your Kids Bike on PPW Without Traffic Calming?”. If it’s between a residential area and a park, I mean. Why are there 2 unidireccional wide lanes there? Could the through traffic be diverted to a more appropriate area?

  • I’m an adult and I wouldn’t ride it if it weren’t protected, honestly.

  • na

    This bike lane(s) is causing waaaaaaaaaaaay to much controversy. I say get rid of it and we wouldn’t have to hear about it anymore.

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