Cyclist’s makeshift bike lane barricade stops cops cars from blocking path

Cyclist’s makeshift bike lane barricade stops cops cars from blocking path
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A vigilante cyclist jury-rigged a street barrier to keep cop cars from double-parking on a Prospect Heights bike lane.

Bike lane booster Ian Dutton set up half a dozen waist-high orange traffic cylinders alongside an often obstructed cycling route in front of the 78th Precinct stationhouse, creating a makeshift “protected lane” on Bergen Street near Flatbush Avenue, according to the transportation blog Streetsblog.com.

His do-it-yourself infrastructure disappeared last week then reappeared on Tuesday, causing a buzz among bikers who say the guerilla-style lane divider is a sign that cyclists feel vulnerable riding on the traffic-heavy stretch of street — and that cops ought to respect the rules of the road.

“It’s hard to use a lane if the NYPD is using it as a parking lot,” said cyclist Mitch Sonies.

A police spokesman said officers park in reserved spaces on Sixth Avenue side of the precinct and that cops only park in the bike lane when there’s no other option.

“It could be because a prisoner needs to be taken in or a stray dog needs to be transported,” he said.

The Department of Transportation didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment on the unsanctioned streetscape change, which is reportedly made from construction posts left over from a Con-Edison project.

Nor did Dutton —a former Manhattan Community Board 2 member who lives on the street.

But bikers are cheering his creativity.

“I support what the bike lane vigilante did,” said cyclist Stephen Arthur. “It seems like the police might be under-educated about what the purpose of that bike lane is.”

This isn’t the first time rogue bicycle activists have made tweaks to a bike lane: North Brooklyn cycling boosters painted their own path for two-wheelers on Bedford Avenue after the city controversially removed a section of the bike lane in 2009.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.