Get Off My New York City #Bikelane! is Climaco’s answer to the Dorothy Rabinowitzes (the well-mocked anti bike lane advocate and Wall Street Journal editorial board member) of the world. Aiming to show that New York City cyclists aren’t the most reckless, lawless people on wheels in this town, Climaco began documenting items (mostly SUVs) blocking bike lanes last week. He’s already amassed quite a collection.
When Climaco was 17 years old and cycling in the Pyrenees, a speeding car knocked him off his bike on a curvy mountain turn. When he came back to the United States, he had trouble crossing the street, let alone going for a ride. And it was only when New York City rolled out its bike-share program in May, Climaco says, that he felt comfortable enough to hop back on.
Still, Climaco noticed some issues on his daily route from his apartment in the Lower East Side to his job in Chelsea. "Last week I was having a moody day, I got angry, and I decided to start taking pictures of cars," he says. "Ultimately, what I would like to have is a better integration of New York City bike culture on the streets. Clearly that’s a lot of work and that’s going to take some time, but I think for now just documenting cars or trucks blocking the bike lanes is just a good start."
In 2011, videographer Casey Neistat showcased the issue by taking a police officer’s advice to stay inside the city’s bike lanes (at all costs). The subsequent YouTube compilation of Neistat crashing into signs, construction, taxis, and even cop cars parked in bike lanes went viral. Still, biking on the sidewalk remains the third most common summons issued by the city, ahead of reckless driving and carrying pot, even.
"[Citibike has] made the bike culture a lot more visible, which I think means cars are a lot more respecting of the bike lanes before," Climaco says. Still, he’s eager for fellow cyclists to help him document the city’s blocked lanes. "Come be a collaborator, so we can cover as much geography as possible," he says.