Ride, Baby, Ride: Senator Chuck Schumer Caught Pedaling in Contested Bike Lane

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 19, 2012
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Senator Chuck Schumer rides on Prospect Park West. (Paul Steely White)

Senator Chuck Schumer rides on Prospect Park West. (Paul Steely White)

A shocking cellphone pic of New York’s senior Senator has transportation circles abuzz across the Internet today. While not so much a scandal as a beautiful bike ride in the park, Senator Chuck Schumer was photographed pedaling down a contested bike path in Brooklyn on Sunday by Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives.

Given his close ties to a group fighting the bike lane—his wife and former NYC DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall was among the most outspoken opponents to the path—a hypothetical snapshot of the senator biking had previously been called the Holy Grail of livable streets activism and been the punch line of April Fool’s jokes, but Schumer, who had never taken a public stance on the protected lane, sure appears to be enjoying himself in New York’s unseasonably warm weather.

The Orwellian-named Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes had actually been fighting the protected bike lane since it opened in 2010, but a judge threw out the case last year, citing a lapse of statute of limitations. The group has since appealed the decision.

Steely White told WNYC’s Transportation Nation, “I saw what looked like Senator Charles Schumer riding on the Prospect Park West Bike lane. I whipped out my cell phone and snapped the shot, and as I was taking the photograph he looked at me and smiled and said, ‘I ride all the time.’”

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