Welcome to BRBRbrooklyn! Whether you are pedaling to the shore, the store, your neighbor’s stoop, or back to your own coop, this blog is for you. Bay Ridge Bicycle Routes is an effort raise to awareness within our neighborhood and among civic groups about the activities of bicyclists in Bay Ridge and other nearby communities in southern Brooklyn.

Our neighborhood’s immediate access to the harbor, less congested street traffic, friendly atmosphere, expansive parks and flat terrain (except, of course, for the steep ridge in Bay Ridge!) makes our corner of New York City one of the most fantastic places to ride a bicycle. Whether for transportation, recreation, fun or fitness, cycling is great in Bay Ridge.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Critical Mass Carnage, Brazil

We really have more cheery news to report in the upcoming days at BRBR, but this awful depressing stuff just keeps coming up. Here's news from the International Desk:

On Friday night an angry motorist mowed down a group of about 150 people on bicycles riding for Critical Mass in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The motorist accelerated his vehicle directly through the group of riders, injuring about 20 riders and sending 8 victims to the hospital ER with at least one victim still remaining hospitalized in serious condition.

Full Link:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bicycle Lanes to the North

So most every neighborhood in Brooklyn lies to the North (or maybe East) of Bay Ridge. Here are 2 stories happening regarding bicycle lanes in Park Slope as reported by the Brooklyn Paper.

Story #1: DOT abrubtly removed an item from Community Board 6's agenda for hte discussion of 2 new bicycle lanes on 14th and 15th Street near Prospect Park.
Read the story here: "Bike Lanes - the Third Rail of New York City Politics"

Story #2: Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes —which includes Schumer’swife, the former Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and for- mer Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel — says it “plans to file suit” over a cycle path that it says was installed based on incorrect information by an agency that in- tentionally ignored the facts... But as the group calls into question lane safety, cyclists call into question the integrity of a well-connected group that represents the lane-hating minority in Park Slope. “It’s a small group of wealthy and powerful people who don’t like it,” said Eric McClure, of Park Slope Neighbors, which supports the bike lane.
Read the story here (download the pdf for the print edition out this weekend) Or online here.

Let's face it: it is mid-February and we are still the depth of winter. BRBR is curious to see how all of the recent negative bike lane attitudes play out in May-August when the hoards of NYC take to the streets en masse on their bicyles. One of my neighbors just mentioned to me during an elevator ride: "I'm thinking about getting a bicycle when the weather becomes nicer."

Hit & Run with Cyclist

A Fort Greene cyclist was mangled on Friday in a brutal hit-and-run in Williamsburg — and now her friends are on the hunt for the merciless driver who left her for dead.

Serena Rio, 21, was riding near S. Fourth Street and Wythe Avenue at about 2:30 pm when a car slammed into her and fled, leaving her lying on the pavement with broken ribs, a punctured lung and missing teeth. Rio miraculously survived....

In Brooklyn, a handful of cyclists have been killed over the past year — two were killed on one day in April — in a series of hit-and-run collisions.

Meanwhile, cops continue to fine cyclists in a ticketing blitz to enforce bike laws — yet most of the cases of biker deaths in Brooklyn in the last year have been the driver’s fault.

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pedestrian Fatalities in NY

Following the sad theme from the BRBR posting 2 days ago, the New York Times publishes "Pinpointing Pedestrian Deaths in New York" - a recent article article highlighting the work of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign showing the location of pedestrian fatalities in the region.

New York Times Article.

Full list of maps and factsheets here, including Brooklyn.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fatalities: Car, Pedestrian, Bicycle

The weather has warmed up just above freezing but winter's continual gloom and cold must have us thinking about things not so great. Through all the backlash in recent weeks directed towards bicycling in NYC with bike licenses, bicycle ticketing, extensive review for new bicycle lanes (ie built-in bureaucratic red tape), we found a post on the CRCA Message Board that showed the differences between the life-and-death rights of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists:

February 4, 2011
An officer pulled a vehicle over near exit 39 in Old Westbury and was sitting in his car with his lights blinking when the patrol car was struck from behind by a flatbed truck. The officer died. Police charged the flatbed truck driver with criminally negligent homicide.
Story here.

January 24, 2011
Laurence Renard, 35, was crushed to death by a garbage truck as she was crossing an Upper East Side street. The truck driver was charged for driving with a suspended license.

November 2008
Camille Savoy, a 54-year-old man from New York City was struck from behind while riding on Route 9W near Alpine, NJ. The driver was issued a summons for careless driving by Alpine police, but the investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office did not yield criminal complaints, and the accident cause was determined to be due to driver inattention.
Story here.

Though the tragedy for the driver fatality was the death of an on-duty police officer and the pedestrian and bicyclists were civilians, the comparison between the three incidents illustrates a clear discrepancy in the legal treatment of fatalities involving a driver, pedestrian or cyclist.

BRBR sends our condolences to the family and friends of the persons listed in this posting.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Excerpt: State of the Borough 2011

Here's an excerpt from Borough President Marty Markowitz's State of the Borough Address

"As you can see, I’ve taken advantage of the Department of Transportation’s newest bike lane. Of course, I can tell it’s still under construction, because the D.O.T. hasn’t yet removed all the seats in the auditorium to make room for it!"

Sounds a little snarky to me... and that was the opening line. Continuing to the transportation section:

"As I’m sure you noticed, I made my entrance tonight on what I like to my senior cycle, so I hope you understand that I am not against bicycles. I’m not even against bike lanes. I’ve supported their creation around Brooklyn, including 9th street near Prospect Park (see our BRBR post) and the Brooklyn Greenway (BRBR got that, too!)that runs from Greenpoint to Sunset Park.

But for the majority of New Yorkers, it is simply not feasible to make bicycles their primary mode of transport, and unfortunately that’s the direction I believe the City’s policy is heading. They are trying to stigmatize car owners and get them to abandon their cars, when the fact is, even many bicyclists also own cars!

Cycling is no substitute for mass transit, and there are still tens of thousands of Brooklynites who live far from public transportation and who rely on a car to reach their jobs and live their lives. But of course, we must have a comprehensive plan that insures the safety of drivers, walkers and cyclists. And we should all remember to show respect to one another—drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, everybody who uses our streets. I have been a vocal critic of the Prospect Park West bike lane because I think it is a perfect example of how not to install a bike lane. It has disrupted the aesthetics of one of Brooklyn’s most beautiful thoroughfares and made it more dangerous to cross the street safely, especially for seniors, young children and parents with strollers."

Read the full text of the address here.

BRBR agrees that the design of transportation networks need to be thoroughly integrated from feet to wheels, rails to wings. As we've posted before in our inspirational image section, achieving multi-mode transportation is possible in the width of a single well-designed street.

Friday, February 4, 2011

State of the Borough 2011

If Borough President Marty Markowitz had enough of bicycle lanes back in October, that certainly wasn't the message at last night's State of the Borough Address in Sunset Park High School. He entered the auditorium riding a bicycle on a green carpeted bicycle lane!