Cyclists, Hasidim split over bike lanes

Dec. 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Two young cyclists in the Williamsburg neighborhood in New York have been charged with repainting a bike lane removed at the request of Hasidic Jews.

Quinn Hechtropf, 26, and Katherine Piccochi, 24, surrendered to police Tuesday and were charged with criminal mischief, the New York Post reported. They were given desk appearance tickets and released.

"We're self-hating Jewish hipsters," Hechtropf joked.

The neighborhood at the Brooklyn end of the Williamsburg Bridge has long been a major center of the Hasidic movement. In recent years, it has also attracted young artists.

The Hasidic community complained of the 14-block bike lane on Bedford Avenue. Leaders argued the cyclists speeding by were a safety hazard and also a moral one because T-shirts and skimpy bike shorts left too much of their bodies exposed by the strict standards of the local Hasidim.

Local residents have complained they are getting the blame from the public while cyclists like Hechtropf and Piccochi are the ones breaking the law.

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