Cycling activist fights to turn makeshift Bergen Street lane official

Will makeshift bike lane inspire a Prospect Heights roadway redesign?

The Brooklyn Paper
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The daring bicycle vigilante who broke the rules to protect an often-obstructed Prospect Heights bike lane now has a legally legit plan to keep cars from blocking the path.

Cycling activist Ian Dutton isn’t hitting the brakes on his battle to bolster the double-parking-prone bike lane on Bergen Street near Flatbush Avenue after someone removed the guerrilla-style barrier he built out of orange pylons — instead he’s taking the issue to Community Board 6 and Community Board 8 to lobby for a city-sanctioned street median.

“It really is an important matter,” said Dutton, an airplane pilot and former member of a Manhattan community board. “A very simple change to the street resulted in a dramatically safer experience for a great volume of cyclists.”

Dutton says he cordoned off the existing bike lane in front of the 78th Precinct stationhouse with construction cylinders he found at a nearby construction site as a fun “suggestion” to keep motorists and police vehicles from parking in the path.

And the makeshift lane certainly exceeded his hopes.

Dutton claims that fewer vehicles double-parked in the bike lane while the pylons were up, and when the bike booster went out of town, other cyclists began maintaining the lane, rebuilding it when cylinders were knocked down or removed.

“It ended up being a giant team effort — it got a really positive response,” Dutton said.

The barrier lasted six weeks before construction workers retrieved the pylons , according to an officer at the 78th Precinct.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said the agency “will review any requests to determine feasibility.”

Dutton’s concept is getting plenty of support on transportation blogs, including a nod from a Brooklyn Spoke writer who recently set up red plastic cups along the Franklin Street bike lane after Dutton inspired him.

“Very basic forms of separation can make big differences,” writer Doug Gordon notes.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018: Story updated to include comment from the Department of Transportation.
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Just wait until the vigilante pedestrians fix the bikers blowing lights and riding on the sidewalk!

Ever see monofilament in a derailleur?
Aug. 27, 2012, 7:20 am
ty from pps says:
Or -- seriously? You must be a very sad man.
Aug. 27, 2012, 7:52 am
PH Dad from PH says:
Yes! Thank you Ian Dutton!! The police CONSTANTLY block this lane and it's very dangerous. I bike my kids to school through here and Flatbush is bad enough...the idea that the 78th precinct is making it even more dangerous is maddening. We need plastic poles or something to stop this lane from being blocked!!!
Aug. 27, 2012, 8:57 am
Kate from Bed-Stuy says:
I also ride with my son through this intersection. I am always shocked that it's the police who are making me right with a toddler ride out into traffic.

We were thrilled with the orange pilons!
Aug. 27, 2012, 9:33 am
God from Heaven says:
You are fighting the wrong battle. Suppose there was an open bike lane on that street. Do you think maybe that will get bikes off the sidewalk?

Here's a metaphor for you. Fining people for littering does not stop people from doing it. Placing trash cans in public places does. So rather than incite violence to punish people you don't like, why not support an effective alternative.
Aug. 27, 2012, 12:55 pm
Yes! from Clinton Hill says:
Fantastic idea. Maybe we can put these pylons on the sidewalk as well, to keep cars from parking there. This is especially needed near police stations.
Aug. 27, 2012, 1:04 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Glad we established that vigilantism is wrong.

Now go behave when you ride your bike.
Aug. 27, 2012, 3:13 pm
ty from pps says:
Or -- You seriously are a douchebag (and not even a smart one)

Calling this guy a "vigilante" is absurd at best, but this is the Brooklyn Paper after all.

However, comparing a demonstration (that's what it was) of placing orange bollards on the stripey bit of pavement with causing physical harm to others... really? Jesus. Do you think the two commenters above with toddlers on the back of their bike needs some corrective measures? Perhaps a sticks in their spokes so their child is killed? Would that make you happy?

You're a friggin' idiot a--hole. I hope you're mom is dead, because you're disgraceful.
Aug. 27, 2012, 3:31 pm
D from Brooklyn says:
Remember that we already have vigilantes in our midst. The difference is that they create "makeshift" parking spaces out of a bike lane and wear police uniforms.
Aug. 27, 2012, 3:45 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ty, you fall in every trap set for you.

And! You're = you are, not your (possesive).

Now go pull those BVD's out - you've been riding too long and have a serious wedgie!
Aug. 27, 2012, 3:55 pm
ty from pps says:
What?! Oh god! I've been caught in Douchebag Or's "traps"! Please oh Please say it ain't so.

You should probably take as much effort with your "traps" as you do with correcting my typos.
Aug. 27, 2012, 4:13 pm
JAY from PSLOPE says:
ty as usual you drag the conversation into the gutter yet again, and as usual you are totally unable to discuss anything without calling people names.
Aug. 27, 2012, 9:47 pm
mike from GP says:
Go Ian! This is desperately needed.

Ty, please stop falling for the traps of the trolls.
Aug. 27, 2012, 10:10 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Ty is never wrong, and Ty will be the first to tell you. And the last.

And remind you later. I love the way Tal gets under his skin.
Aug. 27, 2012, 10:19 pm
ty from pps says:
Jay - Or threatened indiscriminate violence against cyclists for asking for safer infrastructure and police that respect the laws they are charged to uphold... and it's ME that drags the conversation into the gutter? Seriously?!
Aug. 28, 2012, 9:37 am
T from PPW says:
ty - suggestion. Try not commenting for a week and see what happens with people like Or, Tal, and Jay. It will be good for you.
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:17 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ty, that's quite an imagination you have there!

The BP calls a vandal a "vigilante".

I posit about pedestrian vigilantes (which there are none of) and pose a question about monofilament.

You see what isn't there - a call to violence.

No violence mentioned, and no violence even hypothesized about against anyone not breaking the rules and the law; therefor your seeing what isn't there suggesting that I recommend endangering mothers and children who are riding their bike, not running lights - (dangerous to run lights with children no?)

You followed the theory to completion, making your own pictures and results.

Try some leadership - educate bikers about the dangers of breaking the rules and ending up a ghost bike - be the Fred Lebow of city bikers! Maybe bikers will earn some respect, and benefit from that respect.
Aug. 28, 2012, 3:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The reason why Ian Dutton was called a vigilante was because he was taking the law into his own hands, and this is illegal. I suggest looking at the causes rather than the effects here for some of you bike zealots. Nothing he did here was heroic. A more common example of vigilantism is someone killing a criminal for the fun of it. According to the law, unless you had a good reason to shoot at the criminal, the act you committed is against the laws, and you have no right to act like the judge, jury, and even executioner on them. By law, you have to turn them over to the authorities alive unless there was a good reason to kill them on the spot. Getting back to this issue, I can understand his concern about the police using the bike lane for their parking, but blocking it off, which he is not authorized to do so, is against the law as well. Please remember that two wrongs don't make a right.
Aug. 28, 2012, 5:34 pm
bkdude says:
tal, you are late
Aug. 28, 2012, 6:58 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Or - Ty might overreact and be an easy target, but your comment that he sees "what isn't there", is laughable.

Your original comment heavily implied violence against cyclists, and you batting your eyes and claiming innocence is ridiculous.
Aug. 29, 2012, 9:26 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Oliver, I doubt that any of us who have concerns with bicycles wish for their death, and I believe that Or didn't actually mean. If anything, he was probably being sarcastic. However, bike zealots, especially those on Streetsblog, have got to understand that flouting laws themselves when calling for others to be subject to them does put them into a double standard. Seriously, if you want people to respect you, then you have to earn it, not demand it. Doing what Dutton did makes him no better than those he despises. There are things that I don't like, but you don't hear me doing such things that he did. As for bkdude, I do have a life outside my computer, and I think you need one as well. BTW, when I was in downtown Brooklyn on Monday, I witnessed a cyclist going the wrong way on Hoyt Street despite using the bike lane. I do thank today's letter to the editor in the Daily News that does state that all cyclists should be licensed, registered, and insured, because it would even help contribute to the bike lanes, so that everyone else doesn't need to pay for it.
Aug. 29, 2012, 3:32 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Nice try Oliver, but the only "cyclists" I refered to were the one's blowing lights and riding on the sidewalk.

Are you saying all "cyclists" do this?

Implication is subjective.
Aug. 29, 2012, 4:04 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Or - you can deflect all you want. I said "cyclists", I did not say "all". The point being, your original comment implied violence, and you then tried to deny it - I call bs.

As Tal likes to say, two wrongs don't make a right, so the veiled threat of violence against people - even if those people are breaking the rules, is messed up.
Aug. 29, 2012, 7:05 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Again, nice try.

Two wrongs indeed do not make a right, as I pointed out when I pointed out that vigilantism. is not right.

Again, there are no radical pedestrian groups.

Critical Mass, however. . .
Aug. 29, 2012, 8:11 pm

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