In Case You Need a Reminder: This is How Drivers Treat Bike Lanes

Drivers — they'll drive in anything that isn't barricade-protected.
Drivers — they'll drive in anything that isn't barricade-protected.

A typical Friday night on the bike lane on Plaza Street West in Brooklyn. There are lots of drivers frustrated that they can’t go faster — and, frequently, drivers who commandeer the bike lane because, well, they can.

The latest example popped up on Reddit — and shows again how painted bike lanes are, essentially, meaningless stripes that drivers drive over or park on (warning: inappropriate language below).

This bitch was driving in bike lane near prospect park to cut through traffic. I don’t believe in reported app anymore but want her punished from NYCbike

“She was driving through bike lane to dodge traffic,” our tipster told us. “[She] could have run over cyclists easily as she had loud music in her car and [was] completely unworried about law she was breaking.”

To its credit, the Department of Transportation does not label the two-way lane on Plaza Street West as a “protected” bike lane, but it is a crucial portion of the route many cyclists take from Prospect Park West’s two-way protected lane to the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

The ease with which drivers can seize cyclists’ space is hardly limited to this spot. Drivers encroach on the DOT’s “protected” bike lane on Second Avenue so frequently that the NYPD has had to put up its own barricades.

Streetsblog ran the North Carolina license plates on the car in question. It has three tickets — two for running red lights.

  • MtotheI

    I’ve been meaning to write to councilmember lander and DOT about this lane. We deserve a protected bike lane!! About 2 months ago I was coming from the park on the bike lane, through the intersection with union and onto plaza street west only to be confronted by a car coming at me in the bike lane at a fast speed. I literally in my mind said this is it, I’m gonna die when the car merged back into the car lane having gotten in front of a few other cars driven by more patient drivers. We need protection now!! Why do we need to fear for our lives?!

  • In 2010 there was a plan to put a protected bike lane on this street but it eventually got scuttled because of the “controversy” surrounding Prospect Park West.

    DOT should go back to that plan, dust it off and implement the old design when Plaza Street gets repaved, which should be soon. It wouldn’t even require community board approval as it’s just an upgrade to an existing lane. My suggestion this time around would be to add loading zones for UPS/FedEx and other delivery trucks.

  • Brad Sutton

    Exact same thing happened to me in the exact same spot. I was cruising the bike lane and heard a car behind me using the bike lane to get past traffic. I then decided to take a “break” and check my phone in the bike lane a bit.

    Also of note: the pavement on the East side of the circle is dangerously degraded. I often find myself veering into the car lane to keep from crashing in potholes.

  • thomas040

    Eventually I hope the Overton window aligns to a place where it’s just expected that bike lanes are flat and EVEN.

  • MtotheI

    Also, why are there speed humps in the bike lanes? Is there a serious problem with cyclists speeding? I doubt it.

  • AMH

    And this is how drivers treat sidewalks, not that the Mayor can be bothered to care, let alone notice.

    It's a great day to park an @illegal53NYC on the sidewalk in Harlem, right @PCRichardandSon ? When will @NYCMayor acknowledge that there are #TrucksOnSidewalks constantly? @NYPD28Pct @NYC_DOT @BillPerkinsNYC @NYCSpeakerCoJo @BrianLehrer @StreetsblogNYC @WeTheCommuters— Matthias Hess (@HessMatthias) June 24, 2019

  • Joe R.

    Speeding = going over 25 mph, or whatever the posted limit is if it’s higher than 25 mph. Unfortunately, we have a double standard where motorists aren’t considered to be speeding unless they’re at least 5 mph over the posted speed limit, while bikes going over 10 mph are often considered to be “speeding”. Speed bumps don’t belong in a bike lane in any case. They represent a liability issue for NYC if a cyclist gets hurt going over them. Maybe DOT put them there by mistake. You should petition to have them removed.

  • Blwndrpwrmlk96

    I’ve noticed the DOT usually installs a speed bump covering the entire width of the street, including the parking lanes. I think it’s a matter of ease of installation; perhaps the bump was there prior to the installation of the bike lanes. Maybe the bump will not apply to cyclists if bike lanes were curbside, and the parking became a floating lane. That should really be the the premise of the petition to DOT: to have the cycle lane and parking lane switched.

  • thomas040

    Write that letter! What specific intersection / lane is it at? I’ll tweet him about it if I can find his twitter.

  • jojo

    Let’s face it, riding a bike in the street with trucks, buses and cars driving pass you at 25 miles per hour is dangerous especially when approaching street corners. Riding a bike under these conditions is putting yourself in a very vulnerable situation.. But city officials do not seem to see the danger. The city is encouraging people to put their life at risk so they can feel comfortable raise the price a subway/bus fare. So if you can not afford the price hike, just ride a bike to work. The city will make it easy for you by creating bogus bike lanes and bike lanes over bridges too.

  • rider

    Plaza Street around Grand Army Plaza.

  • Simon Phearson

    Assuming there is any rationale behind it – apart from sheer laziness in installation – it might be that a bump-less bike lane adjacent to a speed bump in the main traffic lane might induce drivers to swerve into the bike lane.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    You’ve missed the point entirely. We’re asking for this bike lane to be separated from motor traffic.

  • Andy

    And one of those barricades on 2nd Ave has already been run over and completely destroyed.

  • MtotheI

    Oh look. Simple solution from the nacto manual. A narrow treadway for bicycles to pass through.

  • ProfSlowlane

    I ride here frequently and this is always happening. Making it more tricky is the very poor condition of the bike lane surface especially on Plaza Street West. NYC DOT doing nothing about it.

  • ProfSlowlane

    2 tons and 14 feet of entitled arrogance. Where’s the Law?


The Case for a Two-Way Protected Bike Lane on Plaza Street

Cross-posted from Brooklyn Spoke. In April 2010, DOT proposed an overhaul of the chaotic and dangerous Grand Army Plaza to include two-way protected bike lanes on Plaza Street East and West. (Plaza Street is not the high-speed roadway around the arch and fountain, but rather the less trafficked outer roadways, which already have one-way buffered […]