Villager Series-cycling activism history in NYC

Here is the latest in the Villager’s series on bike activism in NYC. Time’s Up volunteer Keegan writes about how cyclist got radicalized due to a bicycle ban in Time’s Square in the 80’s, the 20 year anniversary of Critical Mass and an upcoming celebration bike ride, film screening and panel discussion.

The battle of the bike ban

By: Keegan Stephan
Published: September 20th, 2012

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Activists across the world are celebrating effective direct actions and strategizing ways to move forward. In New York, we have a special victory to celebrate and an important opportunity to facilitate next steps: a victory 25 years ago in a struggle that’s at the forefront of New York City politics again today, and a celebratory event to recall the lessons of the past and regroup for the future.
In 1987, Mayor Koch issued an edict banning bicycling on Fifth, Madison and Park Aves. from 31st St. to 59th St., between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The ban was a clear attack on bike messengers, who were being scapegoated in the press and public for unsafe streets. In response, six messengers rode up Sixth Ave., taking up the road width, slowing down traffic, and stopping at red lights to let pedestrians cross safely.

Read the entire article: here.

This all culminates on September 28th:

For these reasons, the cycling community will once again gather in the spirit of direct action. At 6:30 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 28, the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass, we will meet at Sixth Ave. and Houston St. and bike the ride that defeated the 1987 ban. At 9 p.m., we will convene at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, at 7 E. Seventh St., for a free movie screening about the ban, followed by a panel discussion on how to cultivate community and create positive change with cyclists and other road users. For more details, visit:

Panelists for this event include messenger and race organizer: Tony “Stoned Tone” Monroe, Laura Solis (@Lalitadynomite) of @WeBikeNYC and Charlie McCorkell founder of Bicycle Habitat and one of the driving forces of the bicycle uprising.

Using twitter? Follow along on this event: @BicycleUprising and use the hashtag: #S28 and #CM20


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