Guerrilla bike lanes made of duct tape and chalk show up on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland

Some frustrated with lack of bike lanes

CLEVELAND - Frustrations with what some in Cleveland's cycling community view as slow response by the city led to guerrilla bike lanes showing up on Detroit Avenue.

Sometime this past weekend, three blocks of Detroit Avenue were given bike lanes made of white duct tape and bike emblems made of chalk on the pavement between West 29th and West 32nd streets.

The lines are crooked and the signs marking the route are handmade, one with a smiley face, but their message of the need for bike lanes has been sent.

The Detroit Avenue route is among Cleveland's busiest route for cyclists. Promised bike lanes have been delayed multiple times over the last year.

Monday evening spokesperson for the city of Cleveland said bids for the new lanes are due by the end of September.

Jacob VanSickle, Bike Cleveland's executive director, said his group does not condone the guerrilla lane, but understands the frustration of cyclists.

"We do value our relationship with the city, our working relationship, working for more bike lanes, but we certainly do understand the frustration with the cycling community and residents," he said. Bike Cleveland is a cyclist advocacy organization representing the interests of cyclists in northeast Ohio.

According to VanSickle, the "guerrilla bike lane" is considered part of an urban improvement done cheaply and without approval.

A statement from the city points out the possible dangers of the rogue bike lane:

"Random and unauthorized traffic signals, like the sharrows on Detroit Avenue, could cause significant harm and injury. Any individual who does this without consent of the city is being reckless with their own safety and the safety of others."

Cyclist Leonard Strnad noticed the lane while cycling to Cleveland State University Monday morning.

"I kind of could tell that someone put it together and it wasn't necessarily the city," Strnad said. He also spoke of possible problems if the lane were perceived as legal. "Because the right (traffic) lane is a lot more narrow."

Aubree Doohan cycles Detroit Avenue daily. Despite nearly being hit by RTA buses, she doesn't consider the busy route to be dangerous.

"Not necessarily unsafe, but I would love to see the bike lanes," she said.

VanSickle said Cleveland has in the neighborhood of just 10 miles of painted bike lanes, far lower than many cities in the country.

The city said they are actively working to increase the number of safe, well-planned bike lane miles in the city, including on Detroit Avenue. When installed, the Detroit Avenue lanes will run from Lake Avenue to West 25th Street.

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