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Bicycling

Great New Website: Get Outta MyBikeLane

11:16 AM EDT on October 9, 2006

Check out my favorite new web site, MyBikeLane, by Greg Whalin.

It's a simple idea. If you see a motor vehicle parked in a bike lane, snap a photo of it with your digital camera or camera phone. Upload the photo to MyBikeLane. The web site publishes the photo of the offending bike lane blocker and keeps a running tally of license plate numbers and locations throughout the city where lanes are being blocked. The site currently has members in four other cities in addition to New York (They have bike lanes in Fort Lauderdale? Who knew?!).

The site is just getting going and is a little bit rough around the edges yet it has already managed to identify an egregious repeat offender. New York City's number one bike lane blocker is a Fed Ex truck operating along Lafayette Street. It has been snared by MyBikeLane three times already.

The site also allows you to write a comment along with your photographic submission and its members seem to be eager to engage and "badger" motorists who are found blocking bike lanes. Here's one savvy comment:

This guy pulled in in his van about a block ahead of my last set of pictures.The entire other side of the street was empty (for street cleaners). I asked him why he was parking there and told him that it was illegal. He told me"I'll take the ticket." I badgered him for a bit until he finally agreed to moveacross the street.

People fear parking on an empty curb for fear of a ticket from the streetcleaning crew, but have no fear of parking in the bike lane. I think that isbecause they know NYPD will not bother with them there.

I don't expect that MyBikeLane will be getting any members signing up from Copenhagen, Denmark, where I was attending a conference last week. In that city, for the most part, it is physically impossible and culturally unacceptable to park in the middle of bike lanes. Let's hope DOT officials are looking at bike lane designs like the ones used in Copenhagen as they build out the bike network over the next three years.

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