You can now report cars parked in bike lanes on 311’s app

You're on notice, fucker. Via Flickr user Dave Winer.

You’re on notice, fucker. Via Flickr user Dave Winer.

Nothing quite symbolizes the tensions between drivers and cyclists in this city like a car illegally parked in a bike lane. It’s the ultimate act of dismissive disregard by a driver, who sees it as free parking to use while they pop into the store to grab a bottled water in a plastic bag, instead of the active and crucial throughway bikers rely on to get around. Cops do it too all the time, forcing you to actually break the law in front of police officers as you exit the bike lane to get by. Can you imagine a reverse world where cyclists just locked their bikes up in the middle of a lane of car traffic on a busy street while they were waiting to meet a friend?

Anyway, the problem has gotten so bad, someone created a citywide registry to shame people who park in the bike lane. Now, those complaints have somewhere official to go: the city’s new 311 app update lets you snitch out cars parked in the bike lanes right from your phone (just don’t do it while actually biking).

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Report blocked bike lanes under the parking violation section of the 311 app.

Report blocked bike lanes under the parking violation section of the 311 app.

The new update, which went live yesterday, has a section where you can report blocked bike lanes under the “illegal parking.” You enter the address of the offending vehicle, whether it’s a recurring problem and any other details (like license plate, I would assume).

You can leave your contact info too, though it’s unclear how 311 will follow up on these complaints, though some bike advocates remain skeptical:

The 311 app has lots of other good stuff in it and it’s worth adding to your utility belt of apps. You can report a taxi driver who doesn’t pick you up, look for an item lost in a cab, file complaints about noise, heat and rats, report damaged trees and graffiti and more.

It still makes for good observational humor:

Follow Tim, who has banged on his share of car hoods in a bike lane: @timdonnelly.

3 Comment

  • “Cops do it too all the time, forcing you to actually break the law in front of police officers as you exit the bike lane to get by.”

    Important clarification: if the bike lane is blocked or dangerous – potholes, glass, obstruction, etc. – it’s not illegal to exit the bike lane. This is commonly misunderstood, even by the cops who frequently ticket people for riding out side of the bike lane. Given that car doors can open at any time, it’s perfectly reasonable and legal to ride outside of a bike lane.

  • I’d rather call and report all these bike lanes popping up everywhere! Cars park on the street, thats where theyre supposed to go! Having a bike lane put down in a street that runs along the side of a sidewalk with a path, along a park is stupid.

    • Maybe you should consider voting locally rather than just being an angry idiot in comments?