With his 4-year-old in tow, Nathaniel Bachelis says the best way for him to get around Brooklyn is by bike.
He says he was thrilled when the Department of Transportation last year began redesigning 4th Avenue with cyclists in mind.
The protected bike lane has been a welcome addition on 4th Avenue, but cyclists say their sense of safety ends right on 1st Street.
“The bike lane, it just ends!”said Bachelis, forcing Bachelis and his son Fabian to bike with motorists all the way to his preschool near Atlantic terminal every day. "I’m just up close against big trucks, big vans, and wedged in there. It’s just super unsafe. And it’s, like, why are we going from this great bike lane to dumped on 4th Ave,” Bachelis added.
That's why he joined dozens of cyclists Saturday, calling for the city to help them cross the finish line by extending the 4th Avenue protected bike lane south to Bay Ridge and to compete the bike lane north, from 1st Street to Atlantic Avenue.
On this stretch this past year there have been 30 crashes, injuring 33 people including five cyclists, according to city data.
“Limited lanes in isolation do not keep us safe,” said Blythe Austin of Transportation Alternatives. “Because every time a lane dead ends, or there’s a gap then we have to merge back into traffic. And that is dangerous.”
They say it doesn't make sense that the bike lane would end before entering the congested transit hub at Atlantic terminal.
"If there’s more traffic, then there’s more need to have some protection from that," said one cyclist at the rally.
The group has the support of City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Brad lander, who say the Department of Transportation needs to act fast to fill the gaps on the 4th Avenue corridor.
“Just one block can create the kind of danger that can put some one’s life at risk,” said Menchaca.
According to the DOT, the stretch of 4th Avenue between 1st Street and Atlantic Avenue is still under development.