A group of cycling clowns rode along Kent Street in Williamsburg today to protest what they call a growing “anti-bike sentiment in Brooklyn.” Organized by “Times Up”, the ride was a response of sorts to vocal community opposition to the bike lane, which some residents and business owners blame for a sudden dearth of parking. Last month Chasidic Jews in the largely Satmar section of South Williamsburg vowed to protest the bike lane by blocking traffic on Kent.
So today the clowns came out “to comically draw attention to the serious danger faced by cyclists without safe, protected bike lanes.” Blasting music from a boom box, they distributed information in English and Yiddish to educate bike lane opponents about the importance of the new lane, which will eventually become part of a separate bike path connecting North and South Brooklyn. In a press release, bike lane clown Benjamin Shepard declared, “An injury to one bike lane, is an injury to all bike lanes. Enforced, protected bike lanes save cyclists lives, improve the landscape and make better use of public space for most of the community.”
The following is a press release from “Times Up”:
On Wednesday, December 17th, the Time’s Up! Bicycle Clowns will ride to defend the new bike lane and future greenway connector in Williamsburg. The Bicycle Clowns will also be kicking off their year-long “Love Your Lanes” campaign to keep the focus on protecting and celebrating bike lanes.
A small but vocal group is spreading anti-bike sentiment in Brooklyn at a time when non-polluting transportation is on the rise in NYC and is recognized as essential to a sustainable future. Bike lane opponents, including some members of the Hasidic community who protest cyclists’ “immodesty,” along with Council Members Diana Reyna and David Yassky and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, are trying to remove the newly installed Kent Street bike lane. Some opponents have even publicly threatened to illegally block the bike lanes with their private-school buses, which will force cyclists into traffic to avoid crashing into the obstructing vehicle and risk being struck and even killed.
“An injury to one bike lane, is an injury to all bike lanes,” declares bike lane clown Benjamin Shepard. “Enforced, protected bike lanes save cyclists lives, improve the landscape and make better use of public space for most of the community.”
The Bike Clowns will ride on Kent Street and clear the bike lane of motor vehicles so that the bike lane is safe for cyclists commuting to work. The Bicycle Clowns will use theater to comically draw attention to the serious danger faced by cyclists without safe, protected bike lanes. They will educate bike lane opponents that removing bike lanes only encourages more people to drive, which further clogs our city’s streets and taxes our country’s oil resources.
“Safe, accessible bike lanes help us re-imagine our city’s future with far less dependence on motorized travel,” bike lane clown Madeline Nelson said.
(Gothamist / YWN Desk – NYC)