January 29, 2012

DIY - Bike Lanes.

image (c) Martin Reis

Every weekday, on my way to the office, I have to pass a heavy traffic road that lacks in a pedestrian crossing. Wouldn't it be great to get some color and paint a cross walk by myself? Beside the legal consequences of that intervention? The same goes for missing bike-lanes, dangerous junctions, missing signature, etc. What will be if cyclists and pedestrian would implement their own, guerrilla improvements to the existing traffic (signature) system?

In Los Angeles you can already see some handmade warning signs, wheat-pasted to electrical boxes and other roadside furniture. They seemed to be part of a growing trend of DIY bicycle signage. A group around Toronto's Urban Repair Squad, however, has got a more radical approach. Since 2005, they have painted over six kilometers of bicycle lane on the streets of Toronto. Of course city officials work hard to remove them as fast as they can. In 2011, residents of Mexico city worked eight hours, painted five kilometers and spend less than 1000 dollars for new DIY bike-lanes.

LA, Toronto, Mexico City and even Brussels - last year has seen a new rise in DIY bicycle infrastructure -initiatives showing the municipalities that:

  • bicycle paths are possible
  • bicycle paths are cheap
  • bicycle paths are easy to implement

In many major cities, scheduled bike lane networks meet delays or are done purely - like in Vienna, where the municipality bike lane network looks at some places more do-it-yourself than any guerrilla bike paths.

Why is it so hard to provide proper bicycle lanes?