The weather may have been dreary, but that didn’t stop hundreds of cyclists from showing up to support the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane on Sunday.
Around 750 cyclists – from toddlers hitching a ride on their parent’s bikes to senior cyclists – turned up for “” a chance for fans of the two-way, parking protected bike lane to show up and voice their support.
“This is really a testament to how popular the lane is,” said Eric McClure, cofounder of Park Slope Neighbors and an advocate for the lane. “So many people showed up, even though it’s on 52 degrees and threatening to rain."
"I think people did a great job of showing just how safe the lane is," added event organizer Mitch Sonies, who dreamed up the idea to show that the lanes are "family-friendly."
The ride started at Grand Army Plaza, where riders lined up at the start of the lane after Councilmember Brad Lander, bike in tow, led the crowd in chants of “yield to pedestrians” and “we ride the lanes.”
At Bartel Prichard Square, the ride ended with free cupcakes from Blue Sky Bakery and hot dogs from Bark – goodies quickly ran out thanks to the huge turnout. Some participants had so much fun, they decided to just turn right around and ride the lanes again.
Though cyclists of all shapes and sizes turned up for the ride, parents and their kids were by far the majority. Many said that the Prospect Park West bike lane is one of the few places kids can actually ride their bikes in the neighborhood, thanks to the lane of parking the separates the bike lane from car traffic.
"We love this lane," said Alexandra Loxton, who escorts her two sons around the neighborhood in a fire engine-red bike buggy made for two. "Streets where there's no bike lanes we really can't ride on. I make huge detours in order to stay on the bike lanes."
The bike lane has been continuously controversial since its installation last June, and in March a group of local opponents to the lane filed a arguing for its removal. But studies by both and have shown that the majority of local residents indeed support the lanes.
“It’s great,” Lander said of the huge turnout for the event. “It’s clear that so many people enjoy the bike lane and support the bike lane.”
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