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Cover up! Bike advocacy group calls for no topless ride on Bedfo

The Brooklyn Paper: Cover up! Bike advocacy group calls for no topless ride on Bedford tomorrow

BY GERSH KUNTZMAN
The Brooklyn Paper

At least one group of bicycle activists is not excited by the planned Bedford Avenue topless bike protest through the Hasidic portion of Williamsburg on Saturday night.

Transportation Alternatives, the advocacy group, just sent over this statement, urging people to keep their tops on if they truly support the reinstallation of the cycle path between Flushing Avenue and Division Street, which the city unceremoniously removed last month.

“A bike lane on Bedford Avenue is about transportation and road safety,” the Transportation Alternatives’ statement said. “Rhetoric or acts that pit neighbors against one another are not just irrelevant to this discussion, they are flat-out offensive. A bike ride of people in provocative undress doesn’t make Bedford any safer, and undermines efforts to bring north Brooklynites together to solve this problem.”

Organizers of Saturday’s sundown showdown say they will dress provocatively in an effort to shock Hasidic residents — some of whom have complained about the bike lane because its users tend to wear skintight or skimpy garments.

Cyclist Heather Loop said that she and at least 50 other bikers will ride in their underwear because if the Hasidim “can’t handle scantily clad women [they should] live in a place where you can have your own sanctuary, like upstate.”

Public nudity laws are on Loop’s side for the half-Monty “freedom ride” from The Wreck Room near the corner of Bedford and Flushing avenues up to Division Street.

Hours after we received Transportation Alternatives’ statement, we received another from Hasidic activist — and failed City Council candidate — Isaac Abraham, who also condemned the nude romp in an open letter to the bike activists.

“We urge and plead with you to reconsider the way the people want to protest and respect the religious believes of our community as well as the moral and respect of all New Yorkers, proceeding with your plan is and will be an insult to the entire Jewish community,” he said.

“Don’t take out your anger and frustration of the bike lane removal on the entire community, when it was only one individual who stated that ‘the dress code’ was the problem. The entire community [has] always stated that safety and parking was the issue.”

Updated 01:42 pm, December, 18 2009: Story was updated to include a comment from Isaac Abraham