Defending bike lanes over the web


in Canada, Internet matters, Law, Ottawa

MyBikeLane is an interesting concept in distributed social law enforcement. The idea is that people take photos of cars parked in bike lanes and then upload those to the site along with details on when and where the incident occurred. Since they can be sorted by license plate, the worst offenders can be easily identified. New York has by far the most active community, followed by Toronto.

Since I carry a digital camera at all times anyhow, I will keep my eyes peeled for possible contributions once I resume biking. For now, my small hybrid tires and the recollection of my nasty Halloween fall are keeping my bike in the basement.

I learned about the site from this interesting blog.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Padraic December 16, 2007 at 9:14 pm

Thanks for the link – MyBikeLane hasn’t taken off in Ottawa, but I’m trying!

I’m not sure if we’ve met, but I’ve been heavily involved in CUSID/debating and we probably know a lot of people in common…

Milan December 16, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Do you know Mike Kotrly, Ashley Thorvaldson, or Marc Gurstein? All three are ex-debaters from UBC now living in Ottawa.

Litty December 17, 2007 at 12:31 am

It seems less as though these lanes are being ‘defended’ and more as though violations of them are being recorded and cataloged.

tristan December 18, 2007 at 4:41 am

This seems to be the morality of resentiment (resentment). I’m not sure what good it serves. It seems whenever a wrong is commited what is interesting is to see what is universal about that wrong – what structural deficiency it expresses which could be remedied. Having a web site of individual infractors is like creating a structure to count and track individual, essentially random, infractions. The fact that one person infracts many times, although it indicates that they arn’t just random, doesn’t tell us anything interesting about what causes them.

Milan December 18, 2007 at 8:56 am


The mapping functions reveal patterns. Also, having a catalog of all the violations by Fedex or some other company can allow you to lodge specific complaints.

I am not 100% convinced that this site is a great idea, but it is certainly an interesting example of what coordination through the web can accomplish.

Milan February 5, 2008 at 6:11 pm

This cycling safety video is utterly bizarre.

More about it can be found here.

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