New York City has been expanding its stock of bicycle lanes throughout town, but as many cyclists are finding, the lanes that are supposed to be dedicated to bikes only are often overtaken by parked cars.
On streets clogged by pollution-emitting cars, buses and trucks, New York City's quest to establish reasonably safe cycling paths by adding to its roughly 300 miles of bicycle lanes has been welcomed by cyclists. But the lanes are often battlegrounds between cyclists and drivers who seem undeterred by the clearly demarcated paths.
Although city regulations forbid cars from blocking bike lanes - a violation that carries a $115 fine - those rules are routinely ignored by drivers who use the lanes as parking spots, loading zones and places to pick up passengers. Such maneuvers have enraged cyclists who say they are unlawful, rude and dangerous.
Some bicyclists have resorted to inventive means to discourage the incursions. On a recent weeknight, nine men and women rode their bikes through the West Village on an outing - unsanctioned by the city - intended to make the lanes more prominent.
At a bike lane on Hudson Street near Christopher Street, one rider placed a cardboard stencil on the pavement, and others covered it with white spray paint. When they lifted the stencil an image of an automobile bisected by a diagonal line was left behind.