Ask BikeNerd: Jerks in the Bike Lane

By Josh Cohen September 3, 2010

This week's Ask BikeNerd tackles the all-too-common problem bicyclists face: cars, cabs, and trucks blocking the bike lane.

Frequent 'Cola commenter Joshuadf explains the situation and asks: This is on Dexter Ave N. "The taxi is blocking the bike lane---parked but running, and the driver is NOT in the vehicle. The white car is passing in the turn lane. Behind the white car is an open passenger loading zone spot! I didn't think it was dangerous enough to call 911 but seems like it should be reported somehow.What's best to do when you notice a situation like this?"

I agree that this situation doesn't really warrant a 911 call, but the cab driver is nonetheless making Dexter more dangerous than it should be by double parking in the bike and travel lanes (... and drivers whine about bikes getting in the way!). I wrote about this issue in June, and my conclusion is still the same. It isn't worth getting self-righteous and confronting the driver directly (has a self-righteous confrontation ever gone well in history?), but given that parking enforcement isn't likely to improve much in the near future, it's a good idea to report issues like this when they see them.

The Seattle Police Department has a non-emergency line (206-625-5011) that you can use to report nuisances like noise and parking complaints. Calling and reporting this cab driver's license plate or cab number to the SPD (and  the cab company) might result a reprimand that would keep the driver from doing it again.

Cars and trucks stop and park bike lanes enough to consider it a problem. It's definitely dangerous to be forced out of the bike lane suddenly and into the travel lane among fast-moving cars. A bicyclist's safety and security should not be trumped by a driver's desire for convenient parking.

That's it for this week. As always, send your bike questions to [email protected]

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