Meals vs. wheels: Food carts block bike lanes, cyclists say

The Brooklyn Paper
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Inconsiderate food vendors who use Downtown bike lanes to haul their carts are recipe for disaster, concerned cyclists say.

Mobile grub slingers obstruct the Smith Street and Jay Street bike lanes and force cyclists to swerve into traffic while transporting their rolling snack shacks from a garage on Clinton Street to sidewalks near Borough Hall and Metrotech Center every day.

There’s a reason the city painted the likeness of a bicycle — not a hot dog — on the busy street, bikers claim.

“This is not what the space is intended for,” said cycling advocate Ian Dutton. “It puts other people at risk.”

The culinary-minded lane-hoggers — who can be spotted on weekday mornings hauling the carts by hand — add another hazard to an already treacherous cycling street deemed the borough’s scariest bike lane by Brooklyn Paper readers due to its frequently blocked path.

Some street vendors even block bike lanes while towing their carts by car, including one photographed by The Brooklyn Paper on Bergen Street in Gowanus.

Cart operators contend that using the bike lane is quicker than navigating crowded sidewalks — and that their meals on wheels only briefly obstruct the bike path.

“It’s only for five minutes,” said one coffee and doughnuts vendor, who declined to give his name.

But cyclists who have long fought for safer streets say lane-blocking vendors are more likely to make them eat dirt than doughnuts — and that it only takes a few second to injure or kill someone.

Bike boosters now want cops to more strictly enforce rules that bar automobiles and mobile restaurateurs alike from impeding cycling paths, saying it’s a major safety concern.

“Any time a bike lane is obstructed, it creates a hazard for cyclists,” said bicycling activist Eric McClure.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
The Pedalphiles can do what they always do - ride on the sidewalk.

"There’s a reason the city painted the likeness of a bicycle — not a hot dog — on the busy street, bikers claim."

There's a reason why the city has lights that turn red and green on the corner too!
Sept. 18, 2012, 7:13 am
Tony from Prospect Heigths says:
Jesus, Or from Yellow Hook. Get over yourself. You sounds like a broken record. I barely ever see cyclists on sidewalks. Maybe one in a hundred. And they are usually kids who are allowed to be there.
Sept. 18, 2012, 7:25 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Bikers want respect, but have not earned it.

Follow the rules and you might be suprised how much support you'd get.

Act like spoiled, entitled children - get treated as such.
Sept. 18, 2012, 7:56 am
Tom from Gowanus says:
EVERYBODY seems to feel it's OK to use the bike lane! Delivery trucks, cop cars, moms & dads running errands, the list is endless. Should they be there? No. But should guys walking their food carts be forced to walk in car traffic, too? No. Or the sidewalk? Not likely.

Everybody should relax on this one, and fellow bike riders should think about the trap they're walking into by enshrining these bike lanes. Next thing you know there will be an ordinance restricting bikes ONLY to the bike lanes, and then we'll hear some real howling.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:09 am
Stu from Slope says:
Agree with Tom on this. As someone who rides these bike lanes literally every day this is a minor problem. I certainly wouldn't want food vendors pushing giant carts on the sidewalk.

Let's start by getting the NYPD to stop parking in the bike lanes when there's no emergency and look at the real dangers to cyclists such as reckless drivers. Then, one day, we can live in a utopia where we can complain about a few people pushing carts.

Not a big deal.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:25 am
Fjorder from South Park Slope says:
I use this bike lane every day and it's by far the most sketchy one on my daily commute. The bike lane is occupied by everything from food carts, livery cars, police vehicles, tons of double parked cars near the courts; cyclists have no choice but to carefully avoid all of these hazards. Unfortunately it's the only bike lane that'll get us to the Manhattan Bridge—and I'm glad it's there—but the city needs to look at the mess of Jay Street and figure out how cars, buses and cyclists can all use the route safely.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:25 am
Fjorder from South Park Slope says:
Oh yeah— food carts are the least of my worries. The biggest hazard are jaywalkers with their heads in the clouds and livery cars pulling high-speed K-turns with no warning right in front of me.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:27 am
Kevin from Midwood says:
I shall continue to drive and park my car in the bike lane until cyclists stop riding the sidewalk, stop running red lights, stop riding against traffic, and STOP WHINING!

The only cyclist who makes sense is Tom from Gowanus. The rest of the whiners should wise up and shut up!
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:28 am
South Park Slope says:
Hey Tom from Gowanus— 

I see nothing wrong with restricting bike riding to bike lanes only, let's do it! (Except for kids, they can still use the sidewalk). We'll just need more bike lanes then, right Tom?
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:35 am
Kevin from Midwood says:
Ty from pps: another Brooklyn Newbie. Another newcomer to Bklyn who thinks he is one of the many internet tuff guys.

You would never have enough nerve to say to my face what you so freely write on a blog, like an anonymous coward, would you?

Punks like you are the reason that cyclists are so disdained.
Punks like you who try to excuse the wanton disregard for the law that most cyclists demonstrate, by fallaciously bringing up cars.

Well, listen, punk. I don't own a car. I walk. I just set up a trap to see how long some fool cyclist without a life would take the bait.

If took you a mere 4 minutes to be punk'd, punk, a mere 4 minutes to demonstrate just how obnoxious the cycling obsessives are.

Case closed.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:47 am
ty from pps says:
Seriously, Kev? Please explain your "trap." Saying stupid things and waiting for someone to respond? Oh, what I wicked trap!!

What about my comment above suggests I am a cyclist? Why isn't your comments just as stupid from a pedestrian or driver's perspective? You're not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you? Case closed.

(by the way, I would be HAPPY to say everything above to your face. Tough guy.)
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:51 am
Kevin from Midwood says:
Do you cycle or not, punk? Of course you do. Don't bs us.
Punk'd twice in half an hour! Newbie loser!

Every time I visit this site, you are either ranting or whining.

Anyway, I gotta go. I actually have a serious, full-time job I have to begin now, unlike you, my little anonymous internet ruff-tuff creampuff.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:04 am
Y from Midwood says:
Kevin's job: makin cream puffs.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:17 am
ty from pps says:
Kevin's Mom: Yes, my son is a total douche bag and he's a little dim, but I still love him. I mean, I'm his mother, I'm supposed to, right?
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:21 am
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Everyone, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, whine.

Everyone, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, are entitled asshats.

Everyone, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, break the rules.

Everyone, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, wants respect, whether they have earned it or not.

Everyone, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, deserve safe use of the roads, whether or not anyone else agrees.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:25 am
BunnynSunny from The Hill says:
The cyclists that go up and down my street go so fast that if I'm not careful to get out of their *in the crosswalk while the light is red* they'll drive right over me!
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:31 am
D from Queens says:
Rainy Tuesday, huh? Cheer up you internet fools. It's almost lunchtime.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:33 am
Stu from Slope says:
ty, if it weren't for you most of the trolls here -- Or, Tal, Kevin -- would have no one to feed them.

Please try to abstain from commenting for a week and see what happens.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:49 am
JJ from CG says:
So this weekend, I was riding my bike south on Court st and came to a stop at the red light at Degraw St. A middle aged woman looked at me and said "Thank You." I thought she was being sarcastic and that maybe I stopped too close to the cross walk so I said "Miss, I stopped!" She gave me this strange look and I realized she was being serious. I guess I am just so used to getting yelled at FOR NO REASON by peds who hate cyclists all the time.
Sept. 18, 2012, 10:13 am
Tony from Prospect Heights says:
I get the same strange look when I stop my car for pedestrians and wave them across the intersection. They give me a look like I'm just setting them up to mow them down. Interesting how everyone has been conditioned, but we all know it is the cyclists that are the real problem. Right? Pure evil they are.
Sept. 18, 2012, 10:32 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Or, Tal, SwampYankee aren't real. They're bots. That's why they sound like such broken records. Well, SwampYankee might be real because it's very difficult to code such effeminate, nancy boy whining and hand-wringing into a bot. But Or and Tal? Most certainly bots. It's best to send all the randomly generated strings the rest of us interpret as their comments to /dev/null.
Sept. 18, 2012, 10:33 am
James from Canarsie says:
Arrogant cyclists assume Brooklyn Paper is streetsblog, a blog supported by a convicted thief that deletes all comments that don't toe the party line - a policy that Stalin would envy

Brooklyn Paper is for all of us, even the Spandixistas who have come to infest it recently. (And infest Brooklyn as well).
Sept. 18, 2012, 10:57 am
JAY from PSLOPE says:
ok so some carts are in bike lanes, so I suppose that is a problem, but to me seems like its yet another article where the forest and trees can't be seen from each other, and the real issue is that all sorts of things get in the bike lanes that are a problem, not just carts. So why focus on just the carts? I question the Brooklyn Papers motivations and agenda here because its not just carts but that is all they are "reporting" on. Now why is that?
Having said that, there are TONS of bikes riding on the sidewalk all the time as well, so really the problem here is that people just SUCK, and everyone doing any of these activities needs to get a ticket or two from the police or more until they can learn to follow the law,
What needs to happen is if you get caught driving in the bike lane, or dragging your cart in it, etc, 750 dollar fine, second offense 1,500 dollar fine, 3rd offense 30 days in jail, 4th time 6 months in jail.
Bike on the sidewalk or riding the wrong way on a street, 750 dollar fine, second time 1,500 fine, 3rd time, 30 days in jail. 4th time, six months in jail.
AND TY, you STILL have nothing to say, all you do is call people names, you contribute NOTHING, and I doubt you are a tough guy or that you can take a punch, much less throw one.
Tough guys don't go around telling people how tough they are, they don't need to, only posers on the internet talk about how tough they are.
However you clearly ARE an internet bully who should be banned from this board.
Sept. 18, 2012, 11:19 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Those carts in the bike lane are just calming the bike traffic.

Calm traffic is good, except when it isn't, then it's called congestion.
Sept. 18, 2012, 12:34 pm
o3 from BK says:
kill the "mobile grub slingers" kill kill kill...

...wait, is that the mosque-speaker blaring for prayer?

(after prayers) kill kill kill...
Sept. 18, 2012, 12:37 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me, but I don't see the need for all of this. What we need, obviously-and I'm not trying to start any trouble here-are special lanes for the food carts so that they can take care of their business without causing and danger. Now, that's just my opinion. But I'm afraid it is the correct one.
Sept. 18, 2012, 1:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The problem with such cyclists is that they believe that their kind does no evil, but everyone else does. I am not condoning the food carts in the bike lanes let alone any other things that might be in them, but that doesn't give cyclists a right to act the way they do. Keep in mind that two wrongs don't make a right. I still find it an irony that cyclists demand that bicycles should be treated as vehicles, but they constantly flout the traffic laws, which makes it hard for them to be given a positive view. On a side note, calling me a troll or bot is a major hit below the belt here, and it sounds as if it was made by those who couldn't find anything to actually debate with except for making personal attacks, and I think those that do that are the trolls themselves. For the umpteenth time, I am a real person, but I don't know if I can say the same for them who are attacking or impersonating me.
Sept. 18, 2012, 5:48 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Hi Tal,
I'm John Wasserman. I hope you'll forgive me, but in my opinion, your final sentence in your predictable rant above should read:
"....those whom are attacking..."
And not:
"...them who are attacking..."
I'm sorry to disagree with you on this.
Sept. 18, 2012, 5:55 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
where is ty to call names and insult when he isnt first in the sprinkles - where is hy when you need hym - mazel tov and l'shona tova
Sept. 18, 2012, 7:31 pm
ty from pps says:
Old Time -- my comments are above. You can read them.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:19 pm
Adambeb from Bedstuy says:
Just put bollards up and see what happens next.
Sept. 19, 2012, 4:38 pm
Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
My son got a ticket for walking a bike on the sidewalk! Imagine that! When every gets equal rights on the street then there is safety. Bikers may seem pesky but if you ride on the sidewalk you will get a ticket. If the bikepath is blocked you are forced either to get off the bike and walk on the sidewalk or go in the traffic and risk getting hurt or killed. I got doored (a car door suddenly opening in your lane without notice) once and the only help I got was the drivers cursing me out to get the he!! out of the way! Then the owner of the car wanted me arrested for damaging my door.
If you complain about bikers going too fast then it is because of all the frustration and harrasement that a biker gets on a daily basis. If a lane is set aside for bikers, it is like who cares? Block the damned thing because nobidy but bikers care. Too many ghost bikes on the streets and it is because of all the antibike attitudes out there.
Sept. 19, 2012, 6:31 pm
S from PPW says:
It is not illegal to walk a bicycle on the sidewalk.
Sept. 19, 2012, 6:42 pm
Eric W from Santa Monica says:
Well, I'm gonna ride down that street anyway to get where I'm going. It's a street after all. that what it's for.

You citizens of New York can make is safer for everyone by not putting things like food carts, police cars, or baby carriages in the bike lane.

That the whole idea of a bike lane - it's a safer way to travel down the street. If there's something in the way, it's back to the mean, dangerous streets for the cyclists. Again.
Sept. 19, 2012, 8:30 pm
Robert Koons from Park Slope says:


Sept. 20, 2012, 7:49 am
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
You want roads?

Obey the laws.

No more roads while rogue drivers break the laws with impunity...

Everyone should obey the laws, but members of all groups are just as likely to "flout laws", bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike. Road usage has never been dependent upon all members of every group obeying all of the laws - and it never should be. Everyone deserves safe usage of the roads, and everyone should obey the laws, but there will never be 100% compliance, so just stop making that argument, it is ridiculous.
Sept. 20, 2012, 9:42 am
Bob Doons from Park Slope says:


Sept. 20, 2012, 2:55 pm
Eric from Greenpoint says:
So, Tal, how's your bike riding coming? Not riding right now? Why's that? It would help your health enormously and provide some perspective about the topic you so often jump into without one iota of real information, only opinions from what sounds like a basement.
Sept. 21, 2012, 10:12 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Eric, there are other ways to exercise besides riding a bicycle. All these claims that bicycles are the only answer is completely ridiculous. I know a bunch of people who have gotten a good workout and never ride a bicycle at all. Also, saying that it's the only way to go green is false as well, and that myth has been long debunked.
Sept. 21, 2012, 9:01 pm
Peter LaFrance from Concord Village says:
It's two pounds of sugar in a one pound bag.
Oct. 3, 2012, 8:01 am
Peter LaFrance from DUMBO says:
It's a matter of two pounds of sugar in a one pound bag.
Oct. 3, 2012, 8:01 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Bottom line is that everyone needs to eat, but not everyone (in fact, not most people) need to ride a bike, so if one must be excluded, the choice becomes pretty clear, altough those bike zealouts at streetsblogger will probably say they'd rather ride than eat and that cars should be banned from the roads. It is prooven fact that bike riding warms the atmosphere more than motoring, so don't attack me b/c I am just the messanger.
Oct. 11, 2012, 11:25 am

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