Guerrilla road safety group ‘politely’ installs illegal bike lane protectors

5/04/2013

An extremely polite group of anonymous guerrilla road safety activists armed with $350 worth of reflective plastic pylons turned the painted Cherry Street bike lane under I-5 into a protected bike lane Monday morning.

The group—calling themselves the Reasonably Polite Seattleites—wanted to make a statement about how easy and affordable it would be for the city to use the method to make bike lanes safer all over the city. To stress how polite they are, they attached them using an adhesive pad for easy removal, according to an email sent to SDOT and Seattle Bike Blog.

The city has removed them, but responded with an equally polite email thanking them for making the statement, apologizing that they had to remove them and even offering to give the pylons back. Below are the shockingly polite emails, starting with the RPS:

“Tom, I’m an avid reader of your blog and avid cyclist. We’ve attended meetings together, though I don’t think we’ve ever actually met. I’m emailing because this morning a friend and I installed a string of plastic pylons along the Cherry Street bike lane under I-5. I’ve attached a couple of pictures. In New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, the city transportation department usually installs these things, which slow traffic to the posted speed limit, and afford cyclists some protection. Some might ask, very reasonably, how does a piece of cheap plastic protect you from a drunk or distracted driver in a two ton SUV? Based on my experience commuting in such lanes in other cities, 1) they slow speeding traffic by making the lane appear narrower (without actually reducing its size); and 2) it’s essentially a warning system for a drunk or distracted driver; once he hits one, he’s more likely to slow down, lessening the chance of hitting a cyclist or pedestrian down the road. This string cost about $350 in materials and required literally 10 minutes to install (admittedly, because SPD HQ is across the street, we hurried). SDOT will probably argue maintaining these things costs money, they complicate street cleaning, etc., etc. These are reasonable arguments, except that Chicago, D.C., San Francisco have confronted and overcome the same issues….”

Continue reading this article by Tom Fucorolo on the Seattle Bike Blog.

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