The relationship between police and people who ride bikes in New York has never been all hearts and flowers. Many regular riders complain that the NYPD expends disproportionate resources on bicycle ticket blitzes while allowing drivers to violate traffic regulations with impunity. Some feel that the police don’t investigate aggressively enough in cases where people on bikes have been killed by drivers, as was Mathieu Lefevre. And a lot of people in the cycling community still remember the 2010 case of a cop who was caught on video pushing a Critical Mass rider from his bike, convicted of falsifying a report on the incident, and then let off without serving any time or even doing community service.
Now a brand-new Tumblr blog, Cops in Bike Lanes, documents just what the name describes, publishing photo after photo documenting NYPD vehicles obstructing the city’s much-vaunted dedicated bike infrastructure.
"I’ve been biking in New York City for awhile, and I’ve dealt with plenty of lane obstructions," says the blog’s creator, who asked to remain anonymous. Seeing how frequently cops block the lanes, though, was the final insult, and so a blog was born -- inspired in part by filmmaker Casey Neistat’s fabulous video in which he crashes into a variety of obstacles in the city’s bike lanes.
There is no shortage of fodder for this particular Tumblr. Cops in Bike Lanes, according to its creator, has already received about 50 submissions from readers in its first couple of weeks online. And he plans to keep it going for the foreseeable future, to make a point.
"They’re supposed to be there to protect and serve us," he says. "And what they do when they’re blocking bike lanes is actively endangering cyclists."