Biking in New York isn’t all beach days, Prospect Park loops and Goonies screenings. It can also be incredibly frustrating, not to mention life threatening. Despite the city’s Vision Zero initiative and its promise of safer streets for everyone, drivers still seem to think it’s totally acceptable to double-park in bike lanes (even the DIY ones) and as a cyclist there’s little recourse besides swearing.
Well now, thanks to CarsInBikeLanes.NYC, bikers finally have an outlet to air their rage and, hopefully, eventually, enact change. As Gothamist reports, the interactive map allows cyclists to report cars in bike lanes, in an effort to alert other riders, collect information on violations and, maybe most importantly, to vent.
If you’ve ever ridden a bike in Brooklyn, you know that drivers, especially at commute times, have a perpetual habit of parking right where you need to be. And beyond being disrespectful, it’s also dangerous and an obvious contributor to the ridiculous number of car-related bike accidents in New York (4,433 last year, according to the DOT).
But the next time you have to squeeze past an SUV to get to work, you can actually do something about it. To report an incident, simply take a photograph of the offending car and street and post it to Cars In Bike Lanes along with the license plate number and a brief comment (it’s all “reviewed before posting, so please don’t bother using any particularly harsh language”). Logging an incident only takes a few moments, and contributes to the website’s shared network of reports. And while as of now there are no actual legal ramifications for drivers reported on the site, building a record of repeat violators and providing hard evidence of a traffic problem will at least make it harder for city officials to ignore.
The site is still in its early phases, but already its map is already fairly comprehensive in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Even with its current network, it gives a solid sense of areas and streets to avoid (the Bedford Avenue corridor, for example, appears especially perilous). As the network grows, it has the potential to become something of a Waze for bikes, and might (in a perfect world) even change drivers’ attitude towards bikers and bike lanes. And even if the city doesn’t listen, it’s a whole lot more cathartic than just yelling into traffic.