Dealing With Blocked Bike Lanes

blocked 13th Street bike lane

Cars parking in bike lanes are a chronic problem in Philadelphia. We regularly contact the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the Philadelphia Police Department in an attempt to get better respect for bike lanes and enforcement of the laws.

There are steps you can take to help keep bike lanes for bicycles. 

STEP 1: KNOW THE LAWS

Do you know Philly’s bike laws? In Philadelphia, you can load/unload your car or commercial delivery truck for up to 20 minutes in a bike lane if that bike lane is marked with “No Parking” signs.

This allowance does somewhat undermine the purpose of the bike lane. But it is the law, so your complaint to the authorities will not be helpful if you are complaining about legal activity. Don’t like the law? Awesome – let us know you want to help rally support for changing the laws.

STEP 2: REPORT THE PROBLEM VIA TWITTER

The PPA monitors the #unblockbikelanes hashtag. Take a photo of the offending vehicle (making sure you followed Step 1) and tweet the photo, plus hashtag, plus location (example: 1700 block Spruce St). Mention @PhilaParking and @PhillyPolice.

STEP 3: REPORT REPEAT ISSUES DIRECTLY TO POLICE

If a bike lane is chronically blocked, report the issue to the police. The Philadelphia Police provide several direct reporting methods beyond 911. The first is by submitting a Roll Call Complaint. Do that here.

The police also provide contact information for district leadership. Find the district in which the problem is happening and contact their leadership via e-mail or phone. Prepare for an indifferent or nonexistent acknowledgment by being persistent and polite.

Those are things you can do while sitting down. But the biggest impact you can make is by standing up and showing up:

STEP 4: GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, and the best way you can make your neighborhood better for bicycling is by getting involved in the organizations that run your neighborhood.

The police are a regular presence at meetings in every police district. Click on your district and then pick a meeting to attend. Bring the blocked bike lane up as a concern that matters to you. Bring friends to bolster your case.

Additionally, become an active member of your local civic association or community development corporation. These organizations have tremendous sway with City Council and can request meetings with the police.

Have you taken these steps? If so, thank you and let us know.