Bicycle Backlash in NYC

My, my, my…the bicyclists in New York City have it rough. Over the past few years, bicycle use has EXPLODED in the city. With that tremendous growth comes the seemingly-inevitable backlash (dubbed by some pundits in NYC tabloids as the “Bikelash”), something we’ve talked about here on in the past.

As new bike lanes sprouted along New York’s streets, there was an effort by some residents of Prospect Park (and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn) to have those lanes removed. Luckily, a State Supreme Court judge ruled against the residents’ lawsuit this past week.

And, as more cyclists took to the streets, the NYPD made a concerted effort to crack down on two-wheeled scofflaws, which didn’t always pan out well for them (or for law-abiding cyclists, either). Bike Snob NYC has written quite a bit about the crackdown, and you may have read about the woman allegedly stopped by police for wearing a short skirt.

Well, now there appears to be a growing debate between pedestrians and cyclists about conflicts on bridges in the Big Apple. BreakThru Radio made a short video documenting some of this clash, and they asked us to share it with you:

Should Bikes Be Banned From The Bridges? – BTR Pulse [ep39] from BreakThru Radio TV on Vimeo.

And, to offer a sobering counterpoint to this perceived backlash, an article recently appeared in bike industry magazine Bicycle Retailer that examines more closely the “bikelash” and the media hype surrounding it. It’s worth a read, so click here to check out that article.


  1. Iron_Man August 22, 2011 6:04 am 

    I got a laugh out of the one woman suggesting that the language barrier for all the various tourists and people groups could be a major part of the trouble. It’s a friggin’ pictogram painted on the ground!?!? The only folks that would be confused would be the blind and recently discovered Amazon indians. Personally I don’t think there is any safe cycling speed when zipping alongside pedestrians. A very slow 10 mph is still more than three times the normal walking speed.

  2. Matt August 22, 2011 8:20 am 

    Big sigh . . .

    This video highlights one of the main reasons I don’t want news anymore, the reporters are incapable of telling a story. The “reporter” says things like – “Cyclists are terrorizing pedestrians” and makes it seem like everyone on a bike is an irresponsible jerk.

    If you reverse the line of questioning it would sound idiotic – “Do you think clueless dolts on two feet should be banned from the Brooklyn Bridge?” “Do you feel that tourists are too dangerous and should be banned from the bridge?” Those questions are terrible, much like the “story” she tells.

  3. New York Bike Rentals August 22, 2011 8:22 am 

    I was surprised to learn that there are biking lanes in NYC. I suppose they could add a biking lane the the bridge, doesn’t seem like a difficult solution. Overall it is pretty dangerous to be biking on a busy bridge in a big city where there are lots of tourists who aren’t looking out for cyclists.


  4. Mike Myers August 22, 2011 8:43 am 

    Seems like some sort of barrier between pedestrians and cyclists would be the only way to prevent crashes. Are there non-motorized lanes on two sides of the bridges, or just one? It looks like the bike lane is awfully narrow to support two way bike traffic.

  5. Central Park Bike Tours August 25, 2011 3:02 am 

    There are actually biking lanes at some bridges for example the Brooklyn Bridge. Everything is about time I think… the sooner pedestrians realize its really dangerours to walk in the wrong lane, the better!

  6. Central Park Bike Rental March 26, 2012 7:44 pm 

    This everything changes and in 2012 there is no so cold “Bicycle Backlash”. However police sometimes can be pretty bad.

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