Look, sometimes you're driving a big rig through Williamsburg and that one-way isn't going your way but there's this green path to the side that's as wide as a truck with these weird little symbols on it, and well, you know the rest.
A tipster sent these videos yesterday of a tractor-trailer driver driving against vehicle traffic in the two-way bike path on Kent Avenue. Our tipster tells us that the driver turned onto Kent at North Sixth Street at about 12:30 p.m., and drove four blocks to Metropolitan Avenue. The first clip picks up around North Fourth Street, and the second one shows the outlaw trucker hanging an illicit left onto Metropolitan as he yells at the videographer. A word makes it over the engine noise that sounds a lot like "puta."
When the cyclist came alongside the trucker at Metropolitan, he said he told him that the path he'd taken is for bikes.
"My dad is a trucker, so I have a certain amount of sympathy for truck drivers getting disorientied/pressured in urban environments," he explained. "But the driver just said, 'I want to fuck your mother' twice, and he cut [the tipster and another cyclist] off to turn onto Metropolitan."
It so happens that the non-bike part of Kent Avenue is an official truck route, but it's a one-way. To travel south, as the trucker here wanted to, without breaking the law, commercial drivers are supposed to head five blocks over onto Roebling Street, or seven onto Union Avenue.
The city Department of Transportation made Kent one-way and installed the two-direction bike path back in 2009, amid a severe backlash over an earlier iteration of the bike route from local merchants upset about the loss of parking, and Satmar Hasidic Jews upset about the exposed female flesh pedaling through their neighborhood. When the new path went in, and truck drivers could no longer travel in both directions, some locals complained about trucks clogging North 11th Street as part of the rerouting, and a DOT official floated the idea of moving traffic to North 14th Street. That never happened.
It's not clear what exactly this particular truck was hauling, but Gothamist managing editor John Del Signore reports, "That Kent Avenue bike lane is a real fucking shitshow in South Williamsburg these days, with all the construction at Spitzer's building and other developments. From like Broadway to South 10th, it's just forget it."
Last year, a trucker driving illegally on South Fourth Street tried to turn onto Kent Avenue, crashed into a construction wall that activists were in the process of adding a crash victim memorial to, got stuck for half an hour, and finally made it out by driving down the bike path, over a row of bollards.
Our tipster again:
I'm not sure how better designed the Kent Ave. lane could be. It's painted; it has its own set of lights; it's separated by a lane of parking—it is an ideal bike lane. Just nothing is enforced.
I ride 10+ miles every day to and from work, and every day I face at least one situation with careless or aggressive [drivers] that could get me killed if I'm not paying attention. And I consider myself a very respectful and alert biker that stops at lights and obeys traffic laws. A few months ago the police had set up a checkpoint at the bottom of the bridge for bikers. They gave me a summons for not having a bell. The priorities are not aligned with the problem.