Today’s news:

Ikea fought bike lane — now gives workers bikes!

Officials at the Red Hook Ikea opposed a portion of a city bike lane near its Beard Street store — but now the company is giving workers free two-wheelers!
The Brooklyn Paper

The Swedish furniture giant Ikea, which strongly objected to a new bike lane in front of its Red Hook store earlier this year, just gave every one of its workers — wait for it! — a new bicycle!

On Tuesday, the Swedish home furnishings giant began handing out 12,400 two-wheelers to its workers nationwide — launching the “gift surprise” at its Beard Street store.

Company officials insisted the event was hypocrisy-free — even though they blasted part of the four-block cycle path painted in both directions on Columbia Street from Bay Street onto Halleck and Beard streets back in June.

At the time, Ikea manager Mike Baker said that a southbound bike lane along Beard and Halleck streets could jeopardize cyclists, cars and buses all vying to enter the big box store.

The store insisted this week that regardless of its position on the lane, it is pro-bike.

“We are very much in favor of bikes,” said Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth. “We have bike racks at our store. We have customers and co-workers who bike, and we are always in favor of creating as much access as possible to our store.”

Even so, Ikea is still not prepared to give its blessing to the bike lane.

“Let’s see what it’s like during the peak sales period and the summer time,” he warned. “Just because it is working out [so far] doesn’t mean it is safe. It just means that something serious hasn’t happened there yet.”

Longtime store critics don’t buy it.

“It is safer to have these established lanes, and in the interest of residents of Red Hook and employees to have them,” said John McGettrick, co-chair of the Red Hook Civic Association.

The free rides are 26-inch silver mountain bikes, with the store’s signature blue and yellow stripes. They are not branded, and were made exclusively for Ikea.

Cycling advocates cheered the giveaway.

“It’s great that they are encouraging their employees to cycle,” said Noah Budnick, deputy director at Transportation Alternatives.

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Reader Feedback

jonb from red hook says:
very lazy reporting! if ikea is a hypocrite, then Jon McGettrick is an even bigger one. he is the biggest pro-car motor head ever. the man's backside hasn't a bike seat since the days of the Carter adminstration if ever. moreover he opposes the brooklyn waterfront greenway bike trail and fought DOT's safe routes to school initative for PS 15 because it meant losing four parking space on Van Brunt St. he is hardly a friend of sane transportation planning
Dec. 8, 2010, 11:11 am
Sean says:
I'm sure you're aware of the great cycle-share program IKEA of Denmark implemented in 2008 after learning that 25% of their visitors did not arrive in automobiles. Not surprisingly, an even greater number of visitors do not arrive via automobile at IKEA Brooklyn either. (29% Weekday, and 37% Weekend.) [Report: http://www.brooklyncb6.org/_attachments/2009-06%20IKEA%20Followup%20Traffic%20Study.pdf
Dec. 8, 2010, 12:51 pm
Lena from Midwood says:
Those Swedes have some sense of humor, don't you know.
Dec. 8, 2010, 1:19 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
It's possible that where the IKEA executives are from the people are actually civilized enough to share the roads without bike lanes.

Why should bikers be used as human speed bumps in an attempt to "calm" traffic?
Dec. 8, 2010, 2:33 pm
JFJ says:
There's no contradiction between opposing the painting of a bike lane and giving bicycles as gifts. Bike lanes just offer a false sense of security to people who shouldn't be cycling anyway if they think they need bike lanes.
Dec. 8, 2010, 3:11 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
And all those biking customers will have a truck deliver their purchases!
Dec. 8, 2010, 11:52 pm
Joe from Gowanus says:
Ikea security will make you dismout your bike on their esplanade and piers. They are pro-bicycle as long as you never ride a bike near their store!!
Dec. 9, 2010, 1:56 pm
Joe H from Gowanus says:
A bike is better than a pink slip.
Dec. 10, 2010, 12:38 am

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