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Signs of a backlash against ‘bikes gone wild’ on sidewalks

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Whose sidewalks? Our sidewalks!

In pedestrians’ ongoing fight for safe pavement, a Chelsea resident recently took matters into his own hands, installing signs along W. 16th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues reminding people that it’s illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalk — unless the rider is a young child.

The guerilla signs also say “NO” to scooters, which could refer to electric scooters, which are also not allowed on sidewaks.

The placards are in line with the city’s rules of the road (and sidewalk), per the Adminstrative Code, according to the Department of Transportation — at least in terms of bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters and gas-powered mopeds.

“Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter),” the D.O.T. Web site stresses with bold type.

However, rollerskating and skateboarding on the sidewalk, while potentially dangerous — and frequently annoying — to pedestrians, is apparently not illegal, according to D.O.T. Nevertheless, the 16th Street signs include them on their list of no-nos. Certainly, hoverboards and monowheels are not welcome either.

Paul Groncki, president of the 100 W. 16th Street Block Association, sent the newspaper a photo of one of the signs, but it’s not clear who put them up along the block.

“I think it has gotten very dangerous out there,” Groncki told The Village Sun. “No one obeys the rules…not the motor vehicle drivers, nor the cyclists (motorized or not), nor the skateboarders nor the scooter riders, nor the pedestrians. They need to be reminded that the rules are there to make it safer for everyone. No one is doing this. We have been abandoned by Transportation Alternatives, with their sole focus on more access for two-wheeled vehicles of all sorts.

“There is no police enforcement to speak of,” he lamented. “Rules about vehicle registration have been abandoned and no one even knows which two-wheeled motorized vehicles are supposed to be registered. Wheeled riders ignore the bike lanes many of us fought for. Motorized two-wheeled vehicles go the wrong way, ride on sidewalks, ignore traffic lights, use the bike lanes indiscriminately, scare pedestrians, etc.”

The activist explained that these kind of resident-driven street signs do several things.

“They educate and remind vehicle users of the rules — not ‘scaring’ them with the prospect of enforcement fines that will never happen,” he said. “They let pedestrians know that someone is at least trying to address the problem. They shame public officials into doing something — maybe even officially recognizing the need for signs.”

Groncki said he’s hearing that residents on neighboring blocks like the new 16th Street signs.

As reported by The Village Sun, in related news, Clayton Patterson, the well-known Lower East Side documentarian, also recently took matters into his own hands to protect himself from e-bike deliverypersons whizzing by on his sidewalk. He installed a barrier extending 4 1/2 feet off the front of his Essex Street building, forcing the e-bikes to veer away from his front door, so that he can set foot outside without fear of getting hit.

8 Comments

  1. LES3025 LES3025 June 10, 2022

    lol at “Except NYPD.” Very broken mindset where even in their ideal scenario NYPD doesn’t have to follow the rules.

    • David Thall David Thall June 12, 2022

      So much stupid in such a short sentence. As always, you completely miss the point,. Your trolling hatred for residents is sick.

  2. msl msl June 10, 2022

    Used to bicycle in NYC but no more.

    Feel sorry for the exploited delivery workers — it is the entitled “regular” bicyclists who are the problem and endanger everyone — Citibikers, folks on their own expensive bikes who routinely go through red lights, go the wrong way, ignore bike lanes, weave around pedestrians, etc.

    My kids have been hit by bicyclists, my cousin on a Citibike was hit by another cyclist going through a red light, a neighbor will likely never recover from a broken hip after being hit by a bicyclist and so many other incidents… .

    Last week walking with a colleague who put her hand up to a cyclist going through a red light — the cyclist screamed curses at my colleague. Observed similar incident the week before — a pedestrian calmly said, “Not your light” — and the 20-something cyclist cursed at the pedestrian.

    NYC has been growing and spending tons of money on the bicycle infrastructure and at the same time the State M.T.A. (which the City contributes funding to) has consistently cut bus service.
    If the City has so much money, it should be spending it on critical bus and subway — not bikes.

    LOL another neighbor, a TransAlt bicycle fan get ecommerce delivery daily! And flies multiple times a year for fun vacations.

    • msl msl June 10, 2022

      Continuing this comment …on my way home from work today….
      1) the light turned green and so us pedestrians started to cross. A car that intended to make a right, stopped for us pedestrians (as is proper.)
      Us pedestrians kept crossing, the car waited and did not move (as is proper). Then whoosh a bicyclist – an upscale guy – came out of nowhere and nearly hit us.
      2) a little while later, an ambulance, sirens on, was trying to progress. Vehicles tried to pull over for the ambulance. Of course the bicyclists kept going, making it impossible for vehicles to move out of the way for the ambulance.

  3. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg June 10, 2022

    The streets, and predominance of public space, are dominated by toxin-belching death machines that claim some 100 New Yorker lives each year —- while pedestrians and bicyclists are pitted against each other for a little room on the margins. Nobody seems capable of recognizing the root problem here. The autocracy of the automobile is accepted as “normal.”

    • JL JL June 12, 2022

      Bill –
      It is worth noting that there seems to be little discussion of trying to reduce ecommerce and tax ecommerce which has been a massive contributor to traffic etc.
      So many folks who could easily walk to the store but get everything delivered…

      Ironically, some of the biggest supporters of bicycling in NYC are very wealthy with massive carbon footprints – travel by plane, multiple homes, daily ecommerce, involvement in crypocurrency etc.
      Yes this is sadly true.

      • Diana Lakis Diana Lakis June 17, 2022

        And on another tangent how about the dog owners who let their dogs defecate and urinate at the base of trees? Theses same dog owners are climate activists. They are very short-sighted because of their insulation by affluence.

  4. David Thall David Thall June 12, 2022

    “There is no police enforcement to speak of”

    Bingo.

    FACTS:
    The police do not enforce these safety laws anymore.

    Bikes speed very fast on the sidewalks.

    if they do use the street, they speed through red lights, and go the wrong way.

    Pedestrians are getting hit all the time, and it is grossly unreported.

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