Today’s news:

Ikea fought bike lane — now gives workers bikes!

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.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group