Pests Take Over Bicycle Lanes

September 26th, 2010 by Jacqueline Vergara Amézquita

New York City cyclists face yet another hurdle in the never-ending battle for cyclist rights: insensitive pests obstructing bicycle lanes. It appears that as the NYC Department of Transportation completed its commitment to build 200 miles of bike-lanes throughout the five boroughs, inconsiderate lane squatters equally augmented their commitment to claim public space reserved for pedal-lovers.

In the past few years, cyclist advocates have protested against careless drivers who block lanes and have been responsible for unfortunate deaths and accidents. Shortly after a police car was spotted parked in a bicycle lane late last year, Hunter College reported that cars do not respect bike lanes 60 percent of the time. Both parked and while in motion, vehicles are frequently seen in the lanes, seemingly oblivious to the traffic rights of cyclists.

This year alone, a city official’s car, a boat, and a baby in a carrier were all caught taking refuge in bicycle lanes. With the rising trend of illegal multi-use of bicycle lanes, what do the city’s cyclists have to say? And what is being done to ensure respect of these designated bicycle havens?

Josh Gosciak, an avid cyclist for the past 25 years, recommends that the NYPD play a role in the assertion of cyclist rights.

“Intensive training for all new recruits at the academy about bicycle safety, traffic rights, and misuse of the lanes, would help alleviate some of the tensions on the street,” he said.

Lisa Zwick, who depends on her bike for transportation, shares Gosciak’s view of welcoming police participation.

“Bike lanes need to be taken more seriously. We need to put enforcement and get cops out there to ticket people,” she said.

In the quest to fight against bike-unfriendly pests, the Bureau of Organized Bikelane Safety group is taking matters into its own hands.

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