From the New York Times, 05.04.08:
Bike Lanes, Intended for Safety, Become Traffic BattlegroundsComprehensive article from New York, where the city is experimenting with painted buffers, green paint, stencils, and separators in an attempt to keep motorists out of bike lanes. The city plans to continue creating an additional 200 miles of bike lanes to its existing network, and the struggle for space looks likely to intensify.
On streets clogged by pollution-emitting cars, buses and trucks, New York City’s quest to establish reasonably safe cycling paths by adding to its roughly 300 miles of bicycle lanes has been welcomed by cyclists. But the lanes are often battlegrounds between cyclists and drivers who seem undeterred by the clearly demarcated paths.
Although city regulations forbid cars from blocking bike lanes--a violation that carries a $115 fine--those rules are routinely ignored by drivers who use the lanes as parking spots, loading zones and places to pick up passengers. Such maneuvers have enraged cyclists who say they are unlawful, rude and dangerous.
Some bicyclists have resorted to inventive means to discourage the incursions...At a bike lane on Hudson Street near Christopher Street, one rider placed a cardboard stencil on the pavement, and others covered it with white spray paint. When they lifted the stencil an image of an automobile bisected by a diagonal line was left behind.
“I want to remind drivers that it is not all right to be in bike lanes,” said Barbara Ross, 44, a human resources manager, who lives on the Lower East Side and has been a volunteer for Times Up!, an environmental group that promotes nonpolluting transportation. “A lot of drivers don’t think twice about parking in a bike lane because no one tells them not to.”
While painting messages on public streets is illegal, Ms. Ross and her companions said that they meant their markings as a service. Most bike lanes in New York are separated from cars only by stripes of white paint, they said, and additional reminders are likely to help cyclists and, maybe, yield more respect from drivers. (Read more.)
Especially with selfish and inconsiderate motorists, like the driver in a Land Cruiser SUV parked in a bike lane, who told the New York Times that she rarely paid attention to bike lanes. “I have other things on my mind,” she said. “This is the city. Bike lanes belong in parks.”
Image: New York Times/Robert Stolarik.
Visit:NYC Officials Talk Up Bike Month, Streetsblog
Visit: New York bicycle commuters face uphill climb, Los Angeles Times
Visit: New York Times: Portland acts to protect cyclists, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: More bicyclists in New York City, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Why I Ride: Bicycling in New York, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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