New York City council members are getting serious about bike lanes. A new proposal would allow citizens to submit photographic evidence of blocked bike lanes—and they’ll be rewarded with a percentage of the subsequent ticket.
Ask any New Yorker with a bike and they will probably all agree on the fact that the city’s bike lanes are horribly mismanaged. The lanes that run along some of the busiest streets in the city are constantly blocked by parked cars, delivery vehicles, cop vans, and a myriad of other obstructions. But a new proposal may place some power back into the hands of New York cyclists. Under the bill—which is sponsored by District 33 council member Lincoln Restler—civilians will be able to submit a photo of a blocked bike lane to the Department of Transportation (DOT). After an investigation and subsequent ticketing, the submitter could receive 25% of the ticket value—which is expected to be $175. Someone could actually make a living just walking around submitting violations.
“This bill would create a new violation and civil penalty for hazardous obstruction by a vehicle of a bicycle lane, bus lane when bus lane restrictions are in effect, sidewalk, crosswalk, or fire hydrant when such vehicle is located within a radial distance of 1,320 feet of a school building, entrance, or exit,” the bill summary reads. “Where DOT brings a proceeding before [Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH)] using evidence or information submitted by a civilian complainant, OATH would award the complainant 25 percent of any proceeds collected as a result of such proceeding.”
Restler did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment. According to Bloomberg, this new bill is modeled after the city’s Citizen Air Complaint Program. The program, which began in 2022, allows New Yorkers to file a complaint against commercial trucks and buses idling to receive 25% of the resulting ticket.