Yesterday's anti-bike lane protest drew a small but kvetchy crowd to the corner of 1st Ave and 14th St. Organizer Leslie Sicklick was joined by a handful of concerned citizens with a variety of cycling-related complaints, most of which revolved around a common anti-Bloomberg theme. Some were more personal: Michael O'Connor, 63, was there because his dog's tail was run over by a bike rider on the sidewalk. The gaggle of protesters was met by about ten bike lane supporters, who carried "Love Your Lane" signs while debating the anti-laners.
"Bloomberg did these bike lanes not for environment or for people, but to get back at drivers. Someone at the Department of Transportation told me that," Sicklick told us. She argued that businesses were losing "tons and tons" of money due to the lack of parking spaces. "I went into at least 30 business. All you have to do is walk down 2nd Avenue and check out all the businesses that have that my sign. They will tell you!" She was unable to remember the name of any of the establishments however.
Barbara Ulrich, who let us know that she is writing a "book on the holistic treatment of bedbugs," feels that the city "looks ridiculous" with cyclists everywhere. "This is not Amsterdam," she said. She argued that bikes should be taxed to pay for road maintenance: "$65 million is going towards building bike lanes that serve so few people. Bloomberg is wasting our money." She believes the funding should have gone towards better subway accessibility: "What about the old lady with the walker? What is she supposed to do?" Like Gothamist commenter LegalBiker noted, a woman repeatedly mumbled "violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Don't forget," into Ulrich's ear. She refused to give her name because she "works for the MTA and they might find out."
Micah Anderson, a Greenwich Village resident, was among the lane supporters. "To me it seems a reasonable thing to lose a parking spot every once in a while, if it will increase people's safety," he said. Bicycle commuter Brian Van felt that it wasn't an issue of bike lanes at all, but rather a need for enforcement of legal riding practices via community initiative, to "make people aware of what they need to do in operating a bicycle in this city."
The pro-laners appeared calmly amused by Sicklick as she vehemently preached into tape recorders. "It seems like one person that is pissed off and somehow got a lot of attention," said Anderson.