When I began this project, I figured the site wouldn’t be seen by more than a few dozen people. Today it has 3500 followers, gets daily submissions, and has been featured in multiple media outlets. I have been absolutely floored by the response and I’m thoroughly grateful, especially to everyone who has submitted a photo or helped spread the word. Thank you all so much.
I started doing this to vent my frustration at the lack of consideration given to bikers on the streets of New York City. Cops in bike lanes are just a microcosm of the widespread lack of awareness, disrespect, and even open hostility that cyclists often face. The police are supposed to be the defenders of the populace, but every time they park in a bike lane they’re endangering cyclists. They’re also setting a terrible example for everyone else; a driver who sees a police vehicle parked in the bike lane will certainly think less of parking there him- or herself. NYPD vehicles (or other obstacles) blocking bike lanes are not even close to the biggest hazard cyclists face – not as dangerous as a pedestrian stepping out right in front of you, or a driver turning through the lane without signaling, or a car door opening into your path – but they do have the benefit of being easily captured by a quick photo instead of needing video, as many of those bigger dangers would require. More than that, though, these photos obviously resonate with people. They are a quick illustration of just how dangerous it can be to bike on these streets when even your supposed guardian can be an adversary.
Seven years ago today my friend Eric Ng was killed. Eric was riding his bike on what should be one of the safest bike lanes in all of NYC: The Hudson River Greenway, which is the country’s most heavily-used bikeway and is completely separated from traffic. A drunk driver thought that this bike lane was the West Side Highway and hit Eric, killing him at the age of 22.
As I said, there are far bigger dangers than cops in bike lanes. Occasionally these dangers are fatal. Eric would not still be alive if NYPD vehicles stayed out of bike lanes, nor (to my knowledge) would any of the other dozens of cyclists killed in the city since him, but it is my hope that these quick reminders of the everyday risks that bikers face will help make everyone – oblivious drivers, distracted pedestrians, reckless fellow cyclists, and especially police officers – aware that we’re all sharing the streets.