Law & Order: Cyclists Ignore Ban On Bikes Along Promenade

Brooklyn Heights residents are roiled over bicyclists wheeling down the pedestrian-packed Promenade—which is forbidden, according to the long list of no-no’s along the picturesque walkway. The Brooklyn Paper claims that the rule-breaking cyclists frequently “weave around park-goers and ride all over the borough’s most illustrious sidewalk.”

Community Board 2 district manager Rob Perris says he has received calls about cyclists on the Promenade, and is convinced that even 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.”

Longtime Heights resident Rob Rosenstein noted in the Brooklyn Paper story, “I’m here everyday and they ride by like nobody’s business. There’s no concern for anyone else.” He says he fears accidents are bound to happen as long as cyclists ride on the walkway.

Neighborhood cycling expert Tony Scarselli, owner of Brooklyn Heights Bike Shoppe on Atlantic Avenue, says bikers ride on the Promenade for recreation, not commuting. But it’s not a safe place for two-wheelers, he says, advising that two-wheelers 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.”

Promenade regulars suggest that cyclists may not be intentionally disregarding the rules, because posted signs that also forbid booze, off-leash pets and skateboarding aren’t prominent and could be difficult for them to read. “The signs are so small, you can barely see them,” said resident John McKaig. “Maybe if they were bigger, people would pay attention.”

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  • Andy

    I don’t think people do it purposely, I agree that the signs are sooo small they are not seen. However, I think it is a valid concern, especially during the warmer months when the Promenade is packed.

  • paul

    I am a cyclist myself, and it always annoys me to see people biking on the promenade. it’s really not a good place to bike at all, and not the best way to enjoy the promenade, either.

    the signs should definitely be larger. pretty sure 95% of the people biking on the promenade have no idea it’s not allowed.

  • Fast_walker

    While my husband who is a big cyclist can’t see me, I’m going to say this. I have small children and mixing traffic with bikes makes it sgnificantly more dangerous to use promenade or any pedestrian sidewalk a lot more dangerous. In fact, I really wish that they didn’t plan for the bike lane to cross Pier 6 where so many small children are coming out of the swing valley. While the bike lane and pedestrain lanes are separated, bikers still go fast and don’t dismount as the sign says. It would have been a lot better if the bike lane circled around the ring road around One Brooklyn. Nevertheless, we have it much better than folks in Bettery Park City where there’s not even a difference between the bike lane and a side walk.

  • Bear

    I’ve been seeing a lot of bikers on promenade as well, some going very fast for a walkway that has a lot of young and elderly on it.
    There should be large signs at every entrance that state no bike riding. At least this would make it clear to the unaware tourists who are renting bikes.

  • BH’er

    Definitely a problem on the Promenade – bikers seem to heed the signs at BBP, which are free standing in the middle of the path (hard to miss)

    There is still some conflict in BBP with bikers, runners and walkers mixing on the path – they really need to keep a better post for the split, much as what is need on the BB (although, the Bridge situation is an accident waiting to happen)

  • Peter

    It annoys me, and I’ve told several people it’s not permitted. Apart from the signs, which are small (and hardly legible if you’re already on a bike), part of the problem may be that it’s all too easy to go right from the street on to the Promenade.

    Perhaps if there was a surface transition.. like gravel or the like. in addition to better visibility for the signs.

    Still, it annoys me much less than a) people smoking on the Promenade – also not allowed, but quite common

    and b) in the morning, the Promenade is strewn with boxes from Popeye’s chicken, McDonald’s, etc., though trash cans are located about every 20 feet.

  • SPM

    This has been an issue I have been speaking about for a while. More signs and bigger ones. I’ve noticed now there are HUGE red and yellow signs about picking up after your dog and the fine you will get – can’t we do that for the bicycling? The majority are the rental bikes but there are others whom I see from the neighborhood who just don’t care. More signage that is prominent will definitely help.

  • x

    not enough signs and how about some no-bike symbols On the grounds of the promenade itself

  • Jorale-man

    @Peter raises a valid point. In the grand scheme of things, bikes are relatively rare on the promenade. On the other hand, the trash situation there in the mornings is constant and disgusting. It can obviously lead to a lot of other problems such as rodents. Perhaps a large 3-in-1 sign is needed: No Smoking, No Littering, and No Biking.

  • Stunt rider

    Do I take it then that riding by bike, towing a skate boarder, drinking booze from my camal back with Rex running free alongside is frowned upon then?

  • Heights Neighbor

    I’ve seen more people smoking than biking but agree both are a huge issue. There are always lots of people smoking in Brooklyn Bridge Park too. I don’t believe smoking is allowed in any NYC park and maybe this should be advertised on all of the tourist materials. An add in the paper? Bigger signs are good too however I haven’t seen any less dog excrement so I don’t know how effective they are. I can tell you that on my mile walk to work I must end up with the pee and poo of no less then 10 pooches and that’s with jumping over a bunch. How do we educate dog owners. I truly believe they are ignorant. I don’t want to believe they are all a-holes. That’s so negative.
    As for bike riders mixing with pedestrians in BB Park, I think a lot of them ride on the pedestrian side because of those ridiculous cobble strips placed on the bike side. I believe they’re to slow riders down but honestly they are so uncomfortable when you hit them at any speed I’m tempted to mix with the pedestrians myself.

  • Knight

    One cop, one month giving out summonses on the Promenade. That’s all it would take to change the behaviour pattern. That’s really what quality-of-life summonses are all about. And the income to NYC from the tickets would more than cover his/her salary for the time spent.

  • David on Middagh


    Counterproposal: all persons illicitly bicycling the Promenade shall ride white-and-blue bikes and wear body-covering blue uniforms to intimidate the illicit smokers.

  • Heights Newbie

    Perhaps it would help if there were signage that not only says no biking permitted, but also suggests that cyclists use the Brooklyn Bridge Park cycling lanes instead. That way a positive alternative is being offered rather than just posting one more “thou shall not…”.

  • K

    Agree with a police officer proposal – they r doing a great job in the neighborhood when it comes to writing tickets for parking violations so having one on promenade for a month will work magic as well!

  • Anon

    Ever thought that maybe people are biking on Promenade because the surface of the bike path in Brooklyn Bridge Park is impossible to navigate ? For those who come to Brooklyn to look at the view, the park and Promenade are equal in their ability to gaze at the skyline. But the stone surface in the park is ridiculous. The planners knew this and finally admitted it was the plan to “slow” bikers down – more like eliminate them altogether – housing residents reign supreme in this “park”.

  • Ballerina

    I totally agree with Knight that giving out tickets to bicycle riders and smokers on the Promenade is an excellent idea. They should also eliminate bicycle riding altogether on the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path as there is no room for pedestrians and is very dangerous for everyone.

  • James

    Bottom line – it is against the law to ride bicycles on New York City sidewalks and New York City Parks pedestrian paths (which includes the Promenade). By the way – children must obey these laws also since there are no age restrictions.

  • bagel boy

    bike people are as irreverant and disrespectful as the dog poop sneaks… the only thing worse is the major pigs that expect others to walk up or down esclators (particularly at High Street). The are 2 escalators that go up. The wider one is for shared standing and walking up. The small one is for people that dont want to or cant walk on escalators. I have seen more than a few roid boys and hormonal wenches think they can inconvenience 4 5 6 people or more by trying to push through. If you are in such a hurry take the stairs instead …. when someone is carrying bags or briefcases up a hot stinky escalator just perhaps they dont feel like breathing in the foul odor at High Street and more than is needed. You all know who you are, just try pushing past me, try it, make my day.

  • chris

    Why not post the no-biking symbol (bike/circle/diagonal line) on a stanchion right in the middle of every entrance to the Promenade just like at some BBP entrances. The symbol would be clear even to the increasing number of foreign tourists on rented bikes. The stanchions should be heavy enough so they are not easy to move but light enough so they can be moved by park- and garbage workers for trucks.

  • Judy Stanton

    Cyclists on the Promenade should have the common sense to know better than to ride there, and I do not believe that bigger or more prominently posted signs offer a solution to behavior, which arises from an attitude of invincibility and lack of consideration for pedestrians. Safe cycling may not be as much of a priority here in NYC as it should be, otherwise we might see stronger measures taken. At the BHA, our office presses for enforcement in the name of safety for all, but I know that the NYPD has its attention on many types of crime, and bicycle enforcement requires way more officers than we have in the 84th.

  • yoohoo

    You should know that the bike path in BBP between Piers 1 and 6 is a “joint venture” of the park administration and the Greenway initiative. The paved bars on the biking side were put in to slow down bicyclists, and because many among the latter don’t want to slow down they ride on the pedestrian side (the faster one rides, the greater the impact). Currently, closer to Joralemon and Pier 6, it’s everyone for him-/herself. BBP and Greenway must address the issue of keeping the two user groups apart and regulate bike use adjacent to the Pier 6 playgrounds.

    I strongly suggest that some of you attend the next meeting of the BBP CAC and present your grievances. These meetings are posted on the BBP’s web site and are open to the public.

  • yoohoo

    Re bicycle mis-use on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, you may want to attend the meeting of CB2’s parks & recreation committee on Monday, September 10, at 6 p.m., at the Brookyn Hospital Center (entrance on DeKalb Avenue). This is the appropriate place to present complaints and suggestions.

  • north heights res

    I’d way, way, way rather see more enforcement about bikes than smoking. I think it’s ridiculous that smoking outdoors is illegal, and I wish that the city ban had been overturned when the state one was.

  • DrewB

    I honestly believe many of the bikers on the promenade are Tourists that don’t know any better. Ticketing people like that won’t do much. Better signage will help more.

  • Teddy

    A large sign showing a bicycle with a red line through it may do the trick with tourists.

  • Judy Stanton

    With a vast majority of comments favoring bigger signs as a better means to address the problem, I will ask the Parks Dept if they will make up new signs and also see if the Parks Dept’s own enforcement unit could focus on this bike issue for a month. FYI, – to the comment about parking ticket enforcement vs.cops out enforcing quality of life stuff, parking tickets are mostly written by a separate NYPD Traffic Unit which is a different set of cops.

  • Arch Stanton

    Dear Judy Stanton,
    “I do not believe that bigger or more prominently posted signs offer a solution to behavior, which arises from an attitude of invincibility and lack of consideration for pedestrians”. Really, you know what’s in the mind of the few cyclists? I think not. I say the few cyclists because I walk the Promenade almost every day and rarely see a bike and when i do its almost always a tourist (easy to spot). The hardcore NYC bikers don’t use the promenade as it offers no advantage; I know I’m one to “them” and I never ride there. You also say “they should know better”. why is that? There are many places in NYC where bikes and pedestrians share walkways. Have you ever been in the West Side Greenway? the entire length from the Battery to Dyckman St.(though I doubt you ever make it up there) is shared paths much of it narrower than the Promenade, if it’s okay to ride there how would anyone know?

  • Jorale-man

    Been thinking this over further. I know it’s an unpopular view in online forums but I’ve never read or heard of an accident accident on the promenade involving a cyclist. I actually don’t see the harm in bike riding on the promenade as long as one is careful and slows down among crowds.

    Again, I think the trash problem is far more systemic and if the city is to concentrate its limited resources, more garbage pick-up and prevention would improve the overall quality of life more than chasing down a few errant cyclists.

  • signs

    As with the pedestrians-in-the-Brooklyn-Bridge-bike-path situation, prominent signage and other good design are the only things that can change this. Tons of the bicyclists are tourists, so they’re not going to respond to a short-term crackdown. It’s not the same people the next month! (by and large anyway)