By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer posted a photo to his Twitter account Nov. 29 of a gloved hand filled with thumbtacks that he claims were intentionally placed on the bike lane along 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside.
“This represents a new low and a violent and dangerous turn by those opposed to the bike lanes,” the councilman tweeted.
According to post in Facebook group “Sunnyside Together by Pete Shore,” a Sunnyside father was biking with his two children yesterday when one of the tires of the bike cart carrying the kids suddenly burst. As he inspected the wheel he found three thumbtacks lodged in the tire.
While bringing his two kids to school Nov. 29, the father found more thumbtacks scattered on the same bike path.
“If this is a 13-year-old kid doing this, I could maybe understand, but I assume it isn’t,” the father tweeted. “Hopefully someone isn’t really injured because of this, I picked up as many as I could on my four-block walk. Absolutely disgusting.”
Van Bramer took to Twitter to express his outrage over the incident.
“Let me be clear: the bike lanes are not going away. I support them. And while people may disagree, the increasingly desperate campaign against them is now riling up the worst elements of our community and inspiring criminal vigilantism,” Van Bramer said on Twitter.
“No matter where you’ve stood on this debate, we should all be disgusted by how negative and now dangerous the opposition against them has become,” he added. “Now little children have been placed in harm’s way because some will never come to accept that we have bike lanes in our community.”
The 43rd Avenue bike lane has proven to be a point of controversy from the beginning.
In July of this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Department of Transportation would install a pair of parking-protected bike lanes stretching from Queens Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue on 43rd and Skillman Avenues. This came after a Community Board 2, voted 27-8 against the proposed lanes. Protests soon followed.
Nearly 300 people had been injured along Skillman and 43rd Avenue in the years prior to the creations of the bike lanes.
Van Bramer said that he reached out to the 108th Precinct for help on the thumbtack mystery. The NYPD has yet to respond to a request for comment.