The Brooklyn Heights Bike War – Promenade Edition

With the hullabaloo over church goers parking in the Henry Street bike lane on Sundays about to prove Godwin’s Law, it’s time to shine a light on the far more pernicious and rampant law breaking by bicyclists, skaters and other scofflaws in Brooklyn Heights.  Yes folks, BIKES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE PROMENADE.  Neither are ROLLER SKATES, SCOOTERS AND SKATEBOARDS.  As Mrs. Fink, Baby Fink and I were lounging on the Promenade Sunday afternoon, we noticed scores of people breaking this rule.  You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows here — reckless bikers and skaters on the Brookyn Heights Promenade are a much bigger threat to public safety than a few parishioners parking in the Henry Street bike lane for a few hours on Sundays.

*Full disclosure – I am a new member of First Presbyterian Church but that has no bearing on my position regarding the bike lane “controversy.”

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  • my2cents

    I think many bike riders on the promenade are not from the nabe and therefore dont know it is off limits. The signs are not prominent at all.

  • Clintonious Wow

    Bikes shouldn’t be ridden on the Promenade. They are, but that’s no excuse for churchies to break the law.

  • Homer Fink

    @cw – i didn’t say that, i simply say that the danger of a pedestrian on the promenade getting whacked by some asshat on a bike is far more real in that situation than the red herring issue regarding the henry street bike lane — the construction of which btw was a waste of my tax dollars.

  • Yann

    I agree that bikes have nothing to do on the promenade… But any bike lane that “wastes your” tax money is a very welcome addition in my book… It remains too dangerous to bike around in Brooklyn and the City. I can tell by your comments that you don’t bike much, if at all… You dont know what youre talking about.

    Personally, If I had to choose, I’d MUCH rather get hit by a bike while walking than a car while riding…

  • macman5156

    Asshat – that’s an excellent saying… But Homer, I couldn’t disagree more: cars parking in the bike lane poses a serious threat to bikers who are forced to veer back into traffic. Hardly a red herring issue. How about the churchies taking some public transportation, or parking their cars in proper spots, or… riding a bike?

  • Lee

    Homer’s trolling.

  • ABK

    In an overcrowded city, tax payer dollars should certainly! be spent on alternative methods of transportation…especially green ones! How could anyone call it a waste??
    The church is already afforded the special privilege of not having to pay taxes towards these betterments…that’s why it’s all the more frustrating when goers think that their personal choice to worship allows them to inconvenience everyone around them.

  • macman5156

    Lee, for the win.

  • tap

    Wow HF, didn’t think I’d hear words like that from you.

    I’m not a big bike rider, especially since it was stolen a year ago, but every time I’m in Long Island or other areas of Brooklyn conducive to an alternate means of commuting, I imagine how wonderful it would be if the city/town spent money on building bike lanes. It’s a better ‘pro-community’ installation, safer, and w/o a negative environmental footprint. An ecosystem which we ignorant humans, drive to destroy on a daily basis.

    Bigger signs on the promenade will take care unknowing bikers on the promenade, so my suggestion is to push for that. When I first moved here, I assumed it was okay to ride on the promenade, until I happened to see the sign myself. If you miss it, people likely just have no clue, since most are not from BH.

  • Andrew

    No bikes on the Promenade should be enforced to the same extent that no parking in the bike lane should. If the rules are going to change, they should be changed, not merely selectively enforced.

    Homer: when you start your kid riding bikes in a few years, how will you feel about having to stop look and veer out into traffic around cars parked in the bike lane with child Fink?

  • ABC

    the church bike lane issue is completely different. it’s one church being ALLOWED to break the law and creating an unsafe condition for others. nevermind the bikes, how are fire engines supposed to get down that street with parking on both sides? there’s no place for cars to pull over to let a responding truck pass by

    but I’m so glad to hear baby fink wont ever be allowed to have a scooter on the promenade. we’ll hold you to that.

    and ha! when was the last time I saw a rolllerskate anyway. I sometimes keep this blog is all about old people complaining.

  • Scottilla

    Bikes aren’t allowed on the Promenade? They aren’t allowed on the sidewalk either, but you’d never know it from looking at the sidewalk.
    It’s nice to know that the bike lanes were put there so that cars can pull into them in an “emergency.”

  • tb

    The promenade is one of the flattest surfaces in the Heights. Come on people.. at least let the kids ride scooters.

  • Teddie Boy Eddie

    Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!

  • PBK

    Homer is always giving me grief about writing about the bike lane, so I didn’t post on here.

    However, you can head over to my blog and read the latest.


  • DrewB

    Come on Homer, this is beneath you. Looks like you are just trolling for an argument. Are you really saying that your pissed at people breaking rules you like, but you don’t think it is big deal that the church you’ve recently joined is allowed to systematically break the law?

    For the record, I agree that bikes on the promenade are dangerous. And I think bikers in this city are often a menace. But that doesn’t give a church the right to break the law. Talk about red herrings, the two are not even related!

  • Homer Fink

    Bikes are for parks. When a certain level of training and a license is required to ride a bicycle on our city streets, then these precious bike lanes would be a wonderful addition.

    All bike messengers, delivery people who ride bikes should be the first ones subject to regulation.

    As a matter of fact I may start a political party — BIKES ARE TOO DAMN DANGEROUS.

  • nabeguy

    Homer, I think it’s time to cut out the 2 and 4 AM feedings. They’re taking their toll.

  • ABC

    bike messengers? another thing I haven’t seen in 15 years.

  • nabeguy

    ABE, come to Manhattan. They’re still around, although you’re unlikely to see Kevin Bacon on any bike.

  • El

    “Bikes are for parks”? Now I want to call trolling too…

    But hey, I guess I’ll bite – cars parking in the bike lane is basically like cars parking and taking up the entire sidewalk. When space is legally designated for people using a certain mode of transportation, other modes shouldn’t encroach upon that space.That goes for bikes on sidewalks too. Really, everyone just needs to be reeducated on transportation etiquette – pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike.

    And honestly, does anyone really need to drive to the neighborhood church when their home is probably less than a 10 min stroll away?

  • ABC

    Scottilla, bike lanes aren’t for emergencies. Sheesh. That’s not what I said. But the fire trucks frequent route is right onto Henry and then down Henry. I’ve had to pull over before. Even wheeled up onto the sidewalk. If both sides of the street have cars, you can’t do that. I expect the bikes to pull over too.

    This ain’t rocket science.

    “Bikes are for parks.” Good grief

  • Homer Fink

    Yes bicycles are for parks.

    Would you allow a 10 year old to drive a car down Henry Street? Thank you.

  • my2cents

    I like the new Papa Homer. So assertive!

  • zburch

    What troll’s cave did you crawl out of? I don’t love bikes when they are speeding on the Brooklyn Bridge, but I at least recognize they are far less dangerous than speeding trucks and autos. And I certainly think it is wrong for a religious organization to get special parking privileges that block designated bike lanes. Bikes help cut down on greenhouse emissions, and at least bikers are getting some exercise. I don’t have a bike, but think alternate and greener forms of transport should be encouraged.

  • my2cents

    Most people who ride bikes to work in the city can’t afford/don’t want a car anyway. So they are choosing bike over subway/bus. It is a fallacy that people are biking as an alternative to driving in NYC as if each bicycle is a car off the road…yeah right. Greenwash says I.

  • Mickey

    Regardless of whether or not the bike lanes are pernicious, they are the law. And I get offended when people knowingly break the law on a regular basis and get away with it, whether they like the law or not. My neighbor is an arrogant SOB … can I decide that I don’t like the law against assault & beat the SOB bloody? No. So why should the people who go to church on Henry Street be allowed to break the laws they don’t like?

  • PJL

    On a walk this weekend from Orange to Atlantic and back was almost hit by 2 bikes: one going the wrong way in the bike lane and one going the wrong way in the street (and making a turn against the light). Always look both ways even on one-way streets!

  • Marks

    Bikers are almost as much of a menace as Christianity!

  • zburch

    Ya know, I think a big part of why this irks so many (and me too) is that there is just something unsavory about a church with the mentality that they are above the law….not the kind of people I want to hang with or the type of church I would attend. That sense of undeserved entitlement is just annoying. And its just done so blatently without any concern for anyone else but themselves.