Hasidic Cyclists Joined Up With Secular Riders in Bedford Ave Re-Striping

guerilla_lane.jpgPhoto: Gothamist.
The guerrilla re-striping of a portion of the Bedford Avenue bike lane at 4:00 a.m. this morning was the work of both secular Williamsburg residents and members of the Hasidic community, according to Baruch Herzfeld, a local bike-shop operator and cycling advocate with ties to both communities. 

Views of the bike lane within the Hasidic community are hardly monolithic, Herzfeld told Streetsblog. "Scores of people in the Hasidic community are actually pissed about this bike lane being eradicated at the behest of traditionalists," he said. "These members of the community may not want to 'come out' as bike warriors just yet, but they're promising continuous action until the bike lane returns."

DOT removed 14 blocks of the bike lane last Tuesday, infuriating cyclists on both the north and south sides of the Williamsburg Bridge.

This morning's display of unity between cyclists from inside and outside the Hasidic community drew officers from the NYPD and members of a neighborhood security patrol. Several people were given summonses, but no one was arrested, according to Herzfeld, who operates a bike clubhouse at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge that is frequented by secular and Hasidic customers.

Herzfeld was not present at the re-striping, but says he received text messages early this morning from those who received summonses. At one point during the confrontation between bike advocates and the neighborhood watch, a female activist was pushed off her bike by a member of the patrol, he reports, adding that the neighborhood watch also held two bike lane advocates by force until the NYPD could arrive to issue summonses. Requests for confirmation from NYPD have not been returned. 

Herzfeld, who is an observant Orthodox Jew, but not Hasidic, says he's heartened by the group's move, and says the action is a sign of things to come.

"The combined efforts of bike advocates and progressive Hasids to reinstate one of the borough's safest and greenest transportation arteries has huge implications for South Williamsburg," he said.