Bike Lane Liberation Ride

[See the calendar for a complete list of upcoming events!]

Tired of cars and trucks clowning around and blocking the bike lanes? 

Come join the Bike Clown Brigade, made up of cyclists dressed like clowns, as they ride through the Manhattan bike lanes searching out motor vehicles illegally parked in their lanes and reminding drivers how dangerous, sometimes deadly, cars & trucks in the bike lanes are for cyclists.

Any driver refusing to move will be issued a “parking ticket” for $115 for violating NYC traffic law Section 4-08 (e), which explicitly prohibits parking, standing or stopping in bike lanes and holds a $115 fine. The clowns will draw attention to what they believe the NYPD should be doing: enforcing the laws that protect bicyclists.

This ride usually covers a bit over 5 miles and lasts about 2 hours.

Press Articles

Wheels are turning as 8th Ave. bike lane is planned – The Villager, November 23-29, 2005

Blog Posts

Clowns Take Back the Bike Lanes – Gothamist, May 12, 2006

Peaceful Gnome Clowns Take Manhattan – Village Voice, January 21, 2006

Video Mentions

Photographs of Time’s Up! Bicycle Clowns

October 13, 2007 – Bicycle Clowns join the Kid’s Bike Ride

July 13, 2007 ride with special guest “Sheldon Silver”

August 2005 first ride, courtesy Fred Askew

Misc photos of past rides

Bike Lane Liberation Ride History by Ben Shepard October 17, 2007

On August 20, 2005, environmental group Time’s Up! declared August 23 “Bike Lane Liberation Day” in New York City. That Tuesday, a group of bikers wearing clown costumes started a bike ride at St. Marks Church in the East Village and rode through the city giving cars parked in bike lanes fake tickets. Most drivers laughed and drove away; others engaged in a dialogue about cars in the city and the need for non-polluting transportation. When a few drivers screamed, the clowns generally honked their horns and rode away. At the time, Bike Lanes were on no one’s agenda. Over the next two years, members of the Time’s Up! Bike Lane Liberation Clown Block would assist in putting them there through dozens of rides.

Accompanied by a sound bike blaring Freddie Mercury singing, “I want to ride my bicycle,” the dancing Bike Lane Liberation rides brought a renewed spirit of fun to bike activism. With every new ride, the clowns better developed their shtick. Each car parked in a bike lane would be approached by bike clowns imploring it to leave – applauding those who left and crying when others stayed. Those who remained were given fake tickets declaring they were in violation of NYC parking rules.

For the most part, the clowns operated within a ‘you get more with sugar than salt’ disposition. The majority of the cars were more than happy to move on. When the clowns, including this writer, started the rides few in the city seemed to be paying attention to the need for increased bike lanes.

On September 20th, 2007 the Department of Transportation announced plans for “New York City’s first-ever physically-separated bike lane, or “cycle track,” on 9th Ave between 16th and 23rd Street.

For their next ride, the Bike Lane Liberation Clowns hope to celebrate and call for the city to fully realize their plans for more bike lanes! They also plan to celebrate at the new 9th Avenue Bike Lane Saturday, November 3, 2007. Come join us!