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Bicycling

You Can Now Tell 311 About Bike Lane Blockers

Idling cars pulling in and out of bike lanes are a regular threat to the safety of people riding bikes on city streets. Image: @bikelaneblitz
Cars parking or idling in bike lanes regularly threaten the safety of people riding bikes on NYC streets. Photo: @bikelaneblitz
This is not a vision that gives cyclists confidence. Image: @bikelaneblitz

New Yorkers can now report drivers illegally blocking bike lanes via the city's 311 website and mobile apps, according to an update from 311 yesterday.

Image: @mikecherepko
Image: @mikecherepko
\Image: @mikecherepko

The 311 website and the "NYC 311" app enable users to report quality of life, health, and safety complaints to the city. Yesterday's update added "blocked bike lane" to the set of "illegal parking" violations that can be reported, as well as the option to report unsafe taxi and livery driver behavior (including blocking a bike lane) to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

One of the benefits of the update, in addition to making bike lane blockers easier to report, is that there will now be a specific record of user-reported, geo-tagged bike lane violations to 311. Until now, any bike lane blocker reported to 311 would get filed under the vaguer category of "illegal parking."

There's no photo option, but users can provide specific location details and mark whether the complaint is a recurring problem. Of course, it's still up to police to clear bike lanes of parked vehicles -- and NYPD officers are themselves some of the city's worst bike lane violators.

New Yorkers could already file taxi complaints with photo evidence on the city's website, but their addition to the app makes them that much easier to complete.

Speaking on WNYC last month, Mayor de Blasio shrugged off the much too common practice of parking or stopping in bike lanes, but that doesn't change the fact that it's both illegal and dangerous. Still, the effort to track and respond to obstructed bike lane complaints shows that the de Blasio administration understands they're a safety risk, despite the mayor's statements to the contrary.

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