Bicycle enthusiasts in Sunnyside and Woodside will take to the new protected bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues this weekend with a casual ride through the neighborhoods.
The Family Fun Bike Ride will give participants a tour of the neighborhood through the new bike lanes. The ride, which is open to the public, will take place on Nov. 10.
Riders will meet at 12 p.m. at Lou Lodati Playground, located at 41-15 Skillman Ave., and the ride will begin at 12:30 p.m. All riders must bring their own bikes, and rides aged 14-years-old and under are required to bring and wear their own helmet.
In the event of inclement weather, the ride will be rescheduled to Saturday, Nov. 17.
“This bike ride is an opportunity to teach our kids that we can transform city streets and make them safe and fun,” said Alan Baglai, Woodside parent and ride organizer. “When the city provides ample protection from vehicles, biking becomes a logical and enjoyable solution for local family transportation.”
The 3-mile ride will start at the Lou Lodati Playground and will end at the Sunnyside Market. Along the way, riders will be escorted by officers from the 108th Precinct and pass by schools, parks
The Skillman and 43rd Avenue bike lanes have been a source of contention for much of the Sunnyside community. After the Department of Transportation released plans to bring protected bike lanes to these streets, many were skeptical of the plans, citing existing parking issues in the neighborhood, and caused a division between cycling advocates and opposers.
Community Board 2 ultimately voted down the DOT’s bike lane proposal this past summer. However, Mayor de Blasio overturned the community board’s vote and went ahead with the DOT’s bike lane plans, resulting in protests from those against the lanes and praise from supporters.
Advocates of the bike lanes say that the lanes have provided a connection to and through the neighborhoods while making the neighborhood safer.
“We have been using the Skillman bike route to shuttle our children from Sunnyside to school in Long Island City for the past four years and there were many close calls with cars and pedestrians,” said Sunnyside parent Paul Roer. “Having a protected lane makes that commute a lot less stressful and teaches our children how to be safe as a cyclist, pedestrian, and driver.”