This piece first appeared as “Haredi lobbyists run circles around NY city hall” in The Times of Israel.
Hasidim and bikes don’t mix, at least not in Brooklyn.
Hot on the heels of news that the United Talmudical Academy has banned bike riding for students, comes word that the ultra-Orthodox enclave in South Williamsburg won’t receive any of the new bike-share stations being installed as part of New York’s effort to assemble a citywide bicycle infrastructure. Such stations are not welcome by the Hasidim, who view biking as an immodest activity.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “publicly, at least, South Williamsburg became a bike-share-free zone with hardly a peep from religious leaders.”
This diverges greatly from the brouhaha that arose in 2009 following the city’s establishment of bike lanes that ran along Bedford Avenue in the same neighborhood. At the time, the Department of Transportation agreed to remove 14 blocks of bike lanes in a move that was widely believed to be in response to pressure from Hasidim who were disturbed by scantily clad female bikers along the route.
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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.