Like drivers in every city, New York City drivers treat bike lanes as an unofficial loading lane. Worse, cops park in them all the time, and ambulance drivers stop off in them to eat their lunch. Now, in New York at least, we can report these scofflaws, who, even with four other full-sized lanes, plus a parking lane, still don’t have enough space for their vehicles.
The new feature is in the NYC 311 mobile app, and in the 311 website, the go-to place for municipal information, and for making complaints on safety, and the state of infrastructure. Whenever you make a traffic complaint, there’s now an option to mark a “blocked bike lane.” You can also report dangerous taxi drivers to Taxi and Limousine Commission. If you ride a bike in the city, you’ll know that taxis are the mortal enemies of urban cyclists, beaten only by BMW drivers.
When you file a complaint, you can also mark recurring violations–maybe you have to swerve into traffic every day to avoid that cop on his morning coffee break.
What happens to these complaints? Well, the violations should show up on a map that shows blocked bike lanes around the city. That maps uses NYC Open Data, and can be filtered to show bike lane violations. It’s based on 311 reports from 2010 until today, and the addition of the new reporting tools in the apps should make it a lot more accurate.
None of this will make a difference if nobody acts on the information and enforces the law, but perhaps if the city sees just how many idiots park in the bike lanes, it might finally do something about it.