Share your pics, videos, streets, stories of what you find in the bike lane of the non-bike variety that has an impact on your ride and/or your safety. I've decided to keep it a little more open ended - cars, snow, buses, garbage, cabs, etc. If they shouldn't be in the bike lane, go ahead and add it to this thread. Please be safe if you are taking pics or video! :-)
My hope is that we can collectively build some evidence of what we see when riding in the city with the overall hope of better enforcement of "bikes only" and improving maintenance.
Update: More Hashtags to Capture Vehicles in the Bike Lane
With popular hashtags:
#LaneSpreading (Chicago Bike Selling)
#ClearTheWay (ActiveTrans), there are many options to capture violations.
We think you should use ALL of them AND post your photos on The Chainlink. ;-)
I don't see the bike lane violation in this one
I feel your pain in many ways. Bike lanes are frustrating when they're not respected by motorists, when they're not cleared of snow and debris and when the street they're on is just too narrow (to list a few I've observed).
My personal opinion is that bike lanes are not necessary, as I believe that bikes are compatible with motor traffic. The problem with that is that everyone has to follow the rules, which never seems to happen. Installing bike lanes instead of improving the rule-compliance of both cyclists and motorists creates complications: educating cyclists and motorists about their (bike lanes) correct use, enforcement and maintenance. This may be a "six of one, half-dozen of another" issue. It seems to me that the most fundamental problem with the bike lane approach is the same as the (apparent) problems that led away from bikes-in-traffic: this is lack of enforcement.
As Ar69 has amply demonstrated, there is little-to-no enforcement of (at least) the rules that apply to parking in bike lanes. This has been my experience on the UIC campus as well, as my reports to the campus parking authorities have had virtually (literally) no effect. I've stopped reporting violations because I just don't have the time.
I think if the Chicago Police adopted a more aggressive enforcement policy towards *both* motorists and cyclists, we'd see a big improvement in bike lane efficiency as well as less need for bike lanes in the first place.
A guy can dream. I'm back on the streets tomorrow. Happy New Year!
For a regular and frequent cyclist, bike lanes may not offer a particular benefit.
However, from newbes, kids, and infrequent cyclists they are useful and they are attractive. They may encourage cycling on the street. Rack up enough miles cycling on bike lane will give experience riding on the street - and make many more comfortable riding on streets where there are no bike lanes.
I agree. I was not thinking about new riders transitioning to the street.
There's another role bike lanes may play: they might possibly entice a motorist or two to swap the car for a bike because of the constriction of the traffic lane (!). Or maybe cause the motorist to choose a different route.
Unfortunately, there are still motorists who begrudge us our rights on the road; that is a problem that only time and education (and enforcement, IMO) will solve.