Sticky situation! Anti-bike vigilante is gluing locks in Williamsburg

Sticky situation! Anti-bike vigilante is gluing locks in Williamsburg
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

No bicycle in Williamsburg is safe.

A longtime neighborhood resident has gotten so frustrated by sidewalks packed with parked bicycles that he has actually begun injecting Krazy Glue into locks as a form of vigilante injustice.

The renegade — whose name has been concealed because of the sensitive nature of this story — has committed the crime a few times, but told us last week that there are plans to broaden the sticky situation.

“If I get the right people together, we will go down Bedford Avenue at 4 am and inject every bike lock on the strip with Krazy Glue,” said the vigilante, whom we’re calling “The Bike Crusader.”

“There is a bike crisis. Every pole in the neighborhood is littered with them. … These Yuppies are running the whole damn city, and I’m left to my own devices.”

The Crusader’s beef rests with the bikers and the city officials who “allow them into the neighborhood.” The city’s move to widen the sidewalks at N. Seventh Street and Bedford Avenue to make way for bike parking, the U-shaped bike racks lining the sidewalks, and the “failure” by cops to remove bikes locked to city-owned signage left the Crusader stewing in a pot of anger.

That resentment eventually drove the Crusader Krazy.

The sidewalk on Bedford Avenue and the surrounding streets is indeed filled with chained-up bikes, especially near train lines like the L at N. Seventh Street. Locking a bike on a city-provided racks is legal, but locking a bike to any other post, like a parking sign or bus stop sign, is not. And that, plus the handful of bikes that appear to be abandoned, has the Crusader railing.

“We need to clear the sidewalk for people in wheelchairs and people getting out of cars,” the Crusader said, adding that the vigilante “never wanted to turn to this,” but “the Yuppies … have turned this beautiful neighborhood into an eyesore. Watch out for your locks.”

Naturally, bike enthusiasts aren’t so enthused by the threats. Activist Baruch Herzfeld — owner of the Traif Bike Gesheft shop in the neighborhood — doesn’t deny that bikes are left outside from time to time, but noted that the removal (or destruction) of loitering bikes is up to the Department of Sanitation.

“We can understand the frustration, but I cannot support destruction — it’s never a positive thing,” Herzfeld said. “How will people get their bikes off the street? This person is making the problem, and the discourse, worse. It’s unfortunate.”

Vandalism is a misdemeanor and punishable by fines or jail time if the offense is deemed severe by a judge. Still, the Bike Crusader claims that the vandalism is an act of enforcement, rather than vigilantism.

“The people in this community are tired of bikes crowding the sidewalks for two, three weeks at a time, blocking the walkways,” the Crusader said. “No bike is safe.”

Even during cold weather, competition for limited bike parking at the Bedford Avenue station in Williamsburg is intense.
The Brooklyn Paper / Kate Emerson