"Topless" Bike Lane Protest Switches Gears in Cold, Snow

By Hasani Gittens
|  Saturday, Dec 19, 2009  |  Updated 7:42 PM EDT
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"Topless" Bike Lane Protest Switches Gears in Cold, Snow

AP

Lyla Durden, wearing plastic breasts on her jacket, smokes a cigarette as she and other bike-lane protesters meet at a bar in Williamsburg Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009.

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Bicyclists who planned to go topless to protest the removal of a Brooklyn bike lane switched gears in the face of blistering cold and a flurry of flakes. But some pinned plastic breasts over their jackets as they rolled into the snow.
    
Still, dozens of protesters biked through an Orthodox Jewish section of Williamsburg on Saturday, just not as naked as they'd planned.
    
Bike messenger Heather Loop organized the event -- she claims Mayor Bloomberg's office had the lanes removed before the election because the neighborhood's Hasidic Jews "can't handle scantily clad women."

The protesters had said they would ride through the streets without their tops, but wintry weather forced them to stay dressed.

"We were just putting our statement out there that we're upset that they took they bike lanes away," Loop told NBCNewYork.com, adding that about about 25-30 people took part in the protests and there were no arrests.

She said it was a last-minute decision not to go topless.

"I really wanted to do it, but at the same time it was 25 degress and snowing and I'm not really down to go into hypothermia," Loop said.

Some Hasidim say the issue is not showing leg, but safety for children being dropped off by school buses.

Loop said that reasoning didn't hold water.

"We are somebody's children, too," she said.
    
Either way, the bikers' plastic tactics did not amuse the faithful leaving synagogue services with their families on Saturday -- the Sabbath.

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