Report Drivers and Anything Else Blocking Denver Bike Lanes at This New Website

Bicycle Colorado and BikeDenver just launched

Things in Bike Lanes documents where drivers are blocking bike lanes, what time of day, and any other info that people choose to share.
Things in Bike Lanes documents where drivers are blocking bike lanes, what time of day, and any other info that people choose to share.

It may seem like small thing to drivers, but having to unexpectedly swerve out of a bike lane and into car traffic can be a matter of life and death for bicyclists. Nevertheless, the Hancock administration has no real plan to stop bike lane blocking.

To raise the pressure on Mayor Michael Hancock’s streets department to solve the problem, BikeDenver and Bicycle Colorado are launching Things in Bike Lanes Denver.

Things in Bike Lanes crowd-sources photos of, well, things in bike lanes. If you’re fed up with drivers who don’t think twice about stopping in bike lanes, it’s great way to constructively channel your frustration.

As submissions pile up, the information collected from the site should give advocates and Denver Public Works a clearer picture of who is endangering bicyclists and where it happens most. Using that data, BikeDenver and Bicycle Colorado plan to make the case for stronger physical separation for bike lanes, more enforcement, and policy changes that keep curb space clear of delivery trucks and ride-hailing companies.

“We want larger data than one-offs,” BikeDenver Executive Director James Waddell said. “Someone takes a picture of someone in a bike lane, throws it up on Facebook, everybody goes crazy, and then nothing really happens. This is our way of getting a more factual collection of data.”

DPW staff want to see what comes over the wire, said Piep van Heuven, Denver director for Bicycle Colorado. “They welcome it,” she said. “I think that this could be a useful tool for them as they go into the beginning of their budget process, looking at their needs for next year.”

If you come across something blocking a bike lane, you can snap a picture and upload it to ThingsInBikeLanesDenver, which will prompt you for a few pieces of information like the time of the violation and the type of vehicle involved. GPS should mark the location automatically, but you can also mark the location on the map manually.

In addition to prompting action from the city, advocates want to raise awareness among drivers that they should always strive to avoid blocking bike lanes. Anecdotally, van Heuven said, a third of bike lane blockers “really have no idea” they’re doing something wrong, a third are “genuinely apologetic” but feel they had nowhere else to go, and a third “just don’t care.”

When Uber and Lyft drivers, delivery drivers, and generally careless drivers park their vehicles in bike lanes, they endanger others. They also undercut the city’s investments in bike infrastructure and undermine the Hancock administration’s stated goal of increasing the daily share of residents who bike.

“When people choose to bike instead of drive we get cleaner air, healthier employees and reduced traffic congestion, to name a few things,” van Heuven said. “But when bike lanes are clogged with obstacles that throw the bike rider back out into traffic, that discourages healthy behavior by creating a safety issue for everyone on our roads.”