Monday, December 14, 2009

Brooklyn hipsters at war with Hasidic Jews?

The Hasidic community in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn requested that the city get rid of the bike lanes in the area, because they attracted too many scantily-clad hipsters riding through their city, causing the Hasids to stare at them, which is against their religious laws (no staring at members of the opposite sex).

The bike riding hipsters in question? They fought back.

Two cycling advocates were apprehended by the Shomrim Patrol, a Hasidic neighborhood watch group, as they repainted a section of bike lane at 3:30 a.m. yesterday, but when cops arrived, no one was arrested and no summonses were issued, police said.

In what will probably be the first nice thing I have to say about hipsters, I say: Right on. The freedom we have in the US to freely practice our religions if we so desire should not be allowed to impede with other, non-practicing citizens' right to ride their fucking bike down the street in the neighborhood in which they live. If religious people don't want to stare at bare flesh? Then they should stop staring at bare flesh.

I can understand the frustration at having a bunch of self-important, culturally appropriating hipster *@&%)@s take over your neighborhood, and I sympathize wholly. But ultimately, it's 100% legal to ride a bicycle on the street. In fact, in most US cities, is it against the law to ride your bike anywhere but the street. Removing the bike lanes does not change that law; it creates safety concerns for cyclists. Cyclists who are doing a very good thing for all of us collectively when they opt not to use a motor vehicle to get around.

Let the hipsters ride their stupid, ironic, fixed-gear bicycles. If you have a problem with people being responsible citizens and choosing bicycling as their main mode of transportation, and daring to dress accordingly in warmer weather, then by all means, stay inside.