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A man using a bike lane lifts a parked car by hand to clear the lane.
Anyone who frequently uses bike lanes has at some point had their path obstructed by something or someone that isn’t supposed to be there. Spillover from a construction site, pedestrians suddenly stepping into the lane without looking, or, in many cases, cars – both moving and parked.
The problem is so bad that New York City-based filmmaker Casey Neistat made this video back in 2011 to illustrate the difficulties people on bikes face by simply trying to use the infrastructure that was designed for them. By riding straight down the bike lane in NYC, Neistat crashed his bike into everything from moving trucks to garbage cans to an NYPD squad car. The humorous (albeit painful-looking) video showed just how powerless people on bikes are to assert their right to public space.
For one anonymous bike rider, enough was enough.
Posted online on Monday by YouTube user Joe Loreto, the above video shows a muscular, shaven-head man on a bike lifting a hatchback out of a bike lane with his bare hands, and casually moving it off to the side. He then calmly gets back on his bike and continues along, to the cheers of a crowd of onlookers.
While he has the braun to back it up with action, this unnamed bike-hero illustrates the frustration that many of feel us every day when our rights as road users are continually disrespected.
No bicycle rider would ever throw down their kickstand and leave their bike parked in the middle of a roadway, but it is not at all uncommon to see a driver park their car in a bike lane and walk away. Obviously a significant element of this has to do with the certain destruction that would befall any bike left sitting in the line of traffic. But the more important element is social.
As a society, we still respect infrastructure designed for cars as being more authoritative than infrastructure designed for people on bikes or people walking. A street for cars is a command – don’t jaywalk, don’t ride your bike here, don’t let your kids play here – streets for cars are the domain of only cars and that notion goes largely unquestioned. A bike lane, however, is merely a suggestion. Sure there’s a bicycle painted on the track or a sign encouraging drivers to watch out for cyclists – but you can still park here or turn right through it without looking – unless the bike riders can lift cars with their bare hands, they have very little recourse to do anything about it.
Until we recognize that streets are for people in all modes, and that ‘share the road’ is more than just a suggestion, we will continue to have run-ins between people on bikes, walking, and in cars. In the best cases, we get incredible videos like this, but in the worse cases the consequences are much more dire.
In the meantime though, we should get this guy to New York City. I’m sure he and Casey Neistat could do some sort of collaboration.