How the 'Bikelash' Was Beaten Back

When Mayor Bloomberg and transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan began expanding NYC's bicycle infrastructure, a vocal 'bikelash' threatened to undo their efforts. Jay Walljasper looks at the forces that conspired to beat back the bikelash.

May 31, 2013, 7:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


When Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan implemented their first protected bike lanes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, "[t]hese 'green lanes' and pedestrian plazas were an immediate hit but ignited a noisy reaction from a small group of well-connected people unhappy about projects in their neighborhoods, including Bloomberg’s former transportation commissioner," writes Walljasper. "Lawsuits were filed while New York Post and Daily News columnists thundered about the inconvenience to motorists and supposed dangers to pedestrians. New York magazine declared the situation a 'Bikelash' on its cover." 

"Now two years later, Sadik-Khan is still commissioner, and bike lanes continue appearing across the city, including 11.3 new miles of green lanes last year alone."

"What rallied the public around bicycling?" asks Walljasper. He goes on to explain how independent polls, community organizing, and support from the business community were key to maintaining momentum in New York, and throughout the country. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Green Lane Project

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