At the best of times the relationship between cyclists and motorists is tense. Given that the amount of dedicated routes available to cyclists in many cities is quite limited, motorists that opt to stop or park in what should be a thoroughfare really aren’t endearing themselves to the cycling community. A gargantuan SUV parked in a bike lane will put a cyclist in an uncomfortable situation as they’ll have to steer into the roadway in order to make their way around the vehicle – an act that is inefficient and dangerous. A collective of cyclists/designers in New York City have decided enough is enough and they’ve developed a web workflow to raise awareness about bike lane blocking and draw attention to streets and neighbourhoods where it is a chronic problem.
BKME.ORG is the brainchild of ITP students Martín Bravo, Alex Kozovski and Fred Truman and acts as a community-driven archive for geotagged photos posted to twitter. Whenever a cyclist encounters a vehicle blocking a bike lane they can stop, whip out their smartphone, snap a quick photo and tweet it with the hashtag #BKME to auto-publish to the site. The various map views track these crowdsourced parking infractions (green pin icons) and sites where actual bike lane parking tickets have been issued (orange dots) so that visitors can cross-reference this data to understand how and where related ‘no stopping’ regulation is being enforced.
The metadata and media within an individual post lists the location of the infraction, a timestamp, author credit, tweet permalink, geodata, a map for local context and the photographic ‘evidence’. While this framework is quite simple, it provides a valuable service to NYC cyclists by giving them a means to assert their agency over the roadway while heightening their awareness of regulation that directly affects them. As more information is collected, one could see this platform being leveraged in everyday contexts like route planning and as a research tool to inform constructive dialogue with the NYPD. As noted by Martín Bravo on his ITP research blog, a major issue associated with the user generated content that drives this workflow is the amount of time it takes an individual to stop and tweet, so a no-nonsense app is presently in the early stages of development (see this demo video, recorded a few days ago).
It will be really interesting to see how BKME.ORG evolves – we will undoubtedly see this service (or similar ventures) springing up in other cities with an active cycling community in the very near future.
via Jer Thorp