HASID LUST CAUSE CULTURE CLASH
OVER SEXY CYCLISTS
By RICH CALDER
Posted: 3:47 am
September 12, 2008
It's the Hasids vs. the hotties in a Brooklyn bike war.
Leaders of South Wil liamsburg's Hasidic community said yesterday that bike lanes that bring scantily clad cyclists - especially sexy women - peddling through their neighborhood are definitely not kosher.
The red-faced religious sect is calling on city officials to eliminate the car-free lanes on Wythe and Bedford avenues, and to delay construction of a new one planned for Kent Avenue.
The existing, one-way lanes are popular with North Williamsburg hipsters - many who ride in shorts or skirts.
The temporary lane planned for Kent Avenue would be a precursor to a 14-mile greenway stretching from Newtown Creek in Greenpoint to Sunset Park.
Hasids are forbidden from looking at members of the opposite sex who aren't fully dressed, said local activist Isaac Abraham.
Weisser and other Hasids said during a Sept. 8 community-board meeting that the lanes on Bedford and Wythe avenues should be eliminated if the neighborhood has to accept being part of the greenway.
The issue of dress - or lack of it - wasn't brought up at the meeting. Weisser and the other Hasids instead complained publicly about bike lanes allegedly causing parking problems and traffic congestion.
The New York City Police Department, with its 35,000 officers, has in recent years been on the front lines of the citywide decline in serious crime. It has protected visiting dignitaries like Pope Benedict XVI at events that drew thousands of people, and it has posted officers in foreign capitals to gather information on terrorism and trends that could threaten New York.
But the Police Department continues to be flummoxed by bicyclists riding together once a month.
By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 25, 2008;
NEW YORK -- The view from the lens of photographer Mark Weiss's camera is of a treacherous world of cab drivers weaving into bike lanes, of double-parked delivery vehicles, of car doors opening suddenly, of pedestrians wandering blindly and of narrow passageways between trucks. It is the world of the Manhattan bicycle commuter, which Weiss captures on a camera affixed to a bar on his single-gear bike.
City officials, hoping to make commutes like his less treacherous, have created a seven-block experiment of a bike lane on Ninth Avenue. Here, concrete dividers and a row of parked cars shield a bike lane from the street and its traffic. Low mini-traffic lights show when cyclists have the right of way. Bike commuters, messengers and delivery people peel down perfectly smooth paths.
"It would be nice if that were everywhere," said Weiss, 45.
The city is planning to create another protected lane on Eighth Avenue, part of an effort to encourage cycling in New York, where bike use has increased by 75 percent since 2000, to about 130,000 commuters a day. The city hopes to double current bicycle use by 2015 and to triple it by 2020.
"We've run out of room for driving in the city. We have to make it easier for people to get around by bikes," said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's transportation commissioner, who herself bikes to work. She is installing covered bike racks that resemble bus shelters, distributing thousands of free helmets, and expanding a small network of bike lanes to 400 miles by next summer (out of 6,000 miles of city streets).
VETERAN BIKE MESSENGER HAS RINGSIDE SEAT FOR THE CITY CIRCUS
By C.J. SULLIVAN
March 31, 2008-- Kevin Bolger refers to the 16 years he's spent as a bicycle messenger in Manhattan as "16 winters," because the cold months are when work is abundant and the weather takes its toll.
The son of a city cabdriver, Bolger, who grew up in Queens and San Diego, got started in the trade at 20, after dropping out of college. His brother had been a bike messenger, but quit after breaking a finger in an accident, and Bolger was bequeathed his messenger bag and bike and took to the streets.
Now 36, Bolger lives with his wife, a former messenger, and baby boy in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He still rides daily, but he's slowing down some - last year he opened his own messenger company, CycleHawk, and spends part of the day off the street, answering phones and hustling new clients.
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.
The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, and they have since appeared in at least 30 cities throughout the world. For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again -- but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed.