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Promenade bike backlash: Neighbors angry over rule-breaking cyclists

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Rule-breaking cyclists shatter the serenity of Brooklyn Heights’s picturesque Promenade, weaving around park-goers and riding all over the borough’s most illustrious sidewalk, according to angry neighbors.

Brooklyn Heights residents say two-wheelers frequently violate the vista’s no-bike policy, ignoring signs posted at entrances so they can cruise down the pedestrian-packed Promenade.

“I’m here everyday and they ride by like nobody’s business,” said longtime Brooklyn Heights resident Rob Rosenstein, who spends his afternoons reading on the Promenade. “There’s no concern for anyone else.”

Rosenstein says he hasn’t seen crashes yet — but he fears accidents are bound to happen as long as cyclists ride on the walkway.

Community Board 2 district manager Rob Perris has received calls about cyclists on the Promenade — and he fears that more bikers will turn to the walkway in the future.

“As bike riding increases in popularity in New York City and there are more places to rent bikes, we are probably going to see more of this,” he said.

Neighborhood cycling expert Tony Scarselli, the owner of Brooklyn Heights Bike Shoppe on Atlantic Avenue, says bikers ride on the Promenade for recreation, not commuting. But even though it’s car-free, it’s not a safe place for two-wheelers, Scarselli said.

“I wouldn’t advise that people ride a bike there,” said Scarselli, who recommended that bicyclists explore the bike-friendly path in Brooklyn Bridge Park instead.

“There’s no reason to ride a bike there — it’s like an oversized terrace for the neighborho­od,” he said.

Promenade regulars claim that cyclists pose a danger — but some say they may not be intentionally disregarding the rules.

The signs that warn bikers to stay away — which also outline a number of other prohibited activities such as skateboarding and walking off-leash dogs — aren’t particularly prominent and could be hard to read for cyclists on the move.

“The signs are so small, you can barely see them,” said neighborhood resident John McKaig. “Maybe if they were bigger, people would pay attention.”

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Coexist!

Sounds like a radical backlash pedestrian movement is rising!
Sept. 6, 2012, 6:59 am
Te from BH says:
But no one has been hit or killed. Annoying, shouldn't happen, but not all that dangerous. People are killed on Atlantic Avenue all the time.
Sept. 6, 2012, 9:13 am
Alex from Chelsea says:
So, the answer seems to be to get more prominent signs and ticket cyclists who disobey. One $50 ticket and I guarantee you those self-centered people will be gone.
Sept. 6, 2012, 9:47 am
Eliot from The Heights says:
"He hasn’t seen crashes yet — but he fears accidents are bound to happen..."

In other words, nothing happened -- but one person thinks that something might happen at some point.

Slow news year, or what?
Sept. 6, 2012, 10:10 am
Jesse from BK Heights says:
"He hasn’t seen crashes yet — but he fears accidents are bound to happen..."

Whenever bikes are involved, mild nuisance is equated with imminent life-threatening danger. Seriously I can use this formula to drum up fear about anything. My apartment has electricity. Now I haven't seen any electrocutions... yet...

Be smarter people.
Sept. 6, 2012, 10:45 am
BrianVan from Gramercy says:
I saw a cyclist kill 85 people on the Promenade the other day... and then he got on rollerblades and killed another 13 people. Something's gotta be done.
Sept. 6, 2012, 11:24 am
Josh from Cobble Hill says:
"One $50 ticket and I guarantee you those self-centered people will be gone."

So self-centered pedestrians OK, self-centered cyclists aren't? What happened to sharing public space? The people quoted in this article are just whining "ME ME ME."
Sept. 6, 2012, 12:38 pm
Sajh from Brooklyn Heights says:
Really? They need a sign for this? It's a rule across the entire city: No bike riding on sidewalks. Period. There shouldn't have to be a sign. A ticket-happy officer would be nice once and a while. But if they think this is bad... just wait for the Citi-bikes!! I was in Montreal over the weekend and saw how the program is working there. Tons of people riding on the sidewalks b/c they are casual cyclists and afraid to ride in the street. So just wait, in spring there will be a HUGE issue.
Sept. 6, 2012, 1:49 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Sajh, did you notice that people in Montreal get the bike at the top of the hill, and ride it down, and then it has to be trailered back up to the top?

Nice if you have somebody to pick up after you.
Sept. 6, 2012, 1:59 pm
Ben from Greenpoint says:
did somebody mention that must bikers are crazy selfish damn people??
Sept. 6, 2012, 2:05 pm
Paul A. from Bay Ridge/Ft. Hamilton says:
On August 18th I was walking on the pedestrian section of the promenade along the water in Bay Ridge/Ft. Hamilton. I was hit from behind by a idiot wannbe Lance Armstrong who had to have slalomed around three older people that were walking behind me and barely missed three little kids that were ahead of me. I had my right forearm fileted by this dope who stopped about twenty feet from me. His comment....? Oh! He sped away while I stood there bleeding. Luthern on a saturday? Forget it! My neighbor, who is a nurse cleaned & patched me up til I went to my M.D.. I lost a piece of skin 31/2"x 2". I'm gonna be taking a shower with my arm in a plastic bag for another two months.
Sept. 6, 2012, 3:03 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
When I get to the Promenade, I dismount because it says to. But down below in Brooklyn Bridge Park, bikes and pedestrians are able to coexist. Maybe they should try that on the Promenade?
Sept. 6, 2012, 3:04 pm
Rufus Leaking from Around says:
rule-breaking cyclists - that term is redundant.
Sept. 6, 2012, 6:20 pm
Freddy from Red Hook says:
@"Sounds like a radical backlash pedestrian movement is rising!" Today, 6:59 am

There is!

Representatives from both Committee on Rogue Riding and the NY Association for Pedestrian Safety testified today at the City Council re. clamping down on rogue cyclists.

The Bread is Rising!
Sept. 6, 2012, 8:10 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
can you imagine how the pedalphyles would have their twinkies in a knot if you lit up a cig in the park - what is the issue - it is not allowed period. so why do pedalphyles live above the law - gee just like those sissy cops who park on the street - very high double standards are always kool. i was in hoboken terminal the other day and you should have seen and heard mr and ms pedalphyle whine and stamp there feet when they got tickets for riding through the station - a good chuckle indeed. when the cop asked if they saw the sign the said 'yes, but...' lmao mazel tov
Sept. 6, 2012, 9:37 pm
BG from Downtown says:
There's a bike lane between Fulton Landing and Atlantic on Furman Street and another one in Brooklyn Bridge Park between Piers 1 and 6. Riders should be using them.
Sept. 7, 2012, 7:02 am
Home Owner from Brooklyn Heights says:
The problems of people with very few actual problems.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:03 am
Nick from Brooklyn Heights says:
Speak softly and carry a big stick. Reminding the riders no bikes are allowed has never worked. A stick through the spokes works like magic.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:59 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
You can hear the Pedalphyles crying big tears now, "If only we'd policed ourselves!" "If only we'd listened!" "If only we had a leader!"
Sept. 7, 2012, 10:11 am
Smokey from Yosemite says:
How can you have an article about something illegal happening in a park and not have any comment by either the police or parks departments? I realize that working at the Brooklyn Paper is little more than an internship, but this barely qualifies as journalism.
Sept. 7, 2012, 10:37 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The police know that if they gave out $1,000. in tickets, they'd collect about $7.

The Parks Department is off that day, and they're looking for the key to the comfort station the other days.
Sept. 7, 2012, 10:45 am
brooklynite from cobble hill says:
I am a biker rider and I agree that the promenade is no place for bikes. It is crowded with tourists and people from the neighborhood trying to enjoy the view or go for a walk. It is not a rode or a bike path meant for commuting. I am sure that a lot of cyclists or people who are riding bike from rental companies have no idea that this rule even exists. Make the signs bigger at the entrances and maybe place a few signs on the promenade itself. The problem will probably be resolved.

By definition the Promenade is a place for people to take a leisurely walk. Unfortunately, part of coexisting is having to realize that some places are off limits. I don't walk in bike lanes or bike paths designated for cyclists only and I don't expect to be allowed to bike where it is for pedestrians only.
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
When I was reading an editorial about this issue on the Daily News, I couldn't believe the comments. So many of them were trying to dodge the real issue and make the claim that cars are the real problem. According to the bike zealots, whenever there is a problem with how their kind acts, it has to be from forces unknown. Rather than understanding responsibility, they use cars as their scapegoat as always. Just stay away from there are simply dismount. I don't see what is the problem in that. Perhaps if the police really enforced the laws, the number of those accidents would actually be down.
Sept. 7, 2012, 6:05 pm
Enough is enough from brooklyn hts says:
Its time that the idiots who run this city make it mandotory that these childish bike riders register their bikes and pay insurance. You claim to be helping the enviorment by biking ,in realty your making a mess.
Sept. 11, 2012, 7:23 pm

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