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Anonymous's picture

Over the weekend I 'politely' informed a taxi driver that was was stopped in the middle of the bike lane and that he should not be there. He asked where the *** should he stop to let a passenger out?

This got me to thinking...
1) legally, (i.e. by the book) what is a taxi driver supposed to do if s/he has to drop someone off (or pick up) on the side of the road that has a bike lane? Stop in the lane of traffic next to the bike lane? Wait 'till the car can get to the curb?

2) realisticly what is a taxi to do?

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)

Legally, a taxi is supposed to pull up to a space at the curb and discharge a passenger only on the curbside of the vehicle. It's illegal for a taxi to stop to pick up or discharge a passenger in a travel lane (bike or car). Thank goodness this rule is so often observed, and enforced when not.

Anonymous's picture
chris y (not verified)

Thank you very much... I think I have seen a taxi do this once. (sarcasm intended)

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

"I'd rather have a cab, (or any motor vehicle), stop in the bike lane if there is no curb space, than to stop outside the lane and dispatch passengers across the lane.

That may not be ""by the book"", but it works for me."

Anonymous's picture
Anon (not verified)

cyclists should not take this personally. cabs just as easily stop in front of another car's lane of traffic in order to let out a passenger, so they wouldn't give bicycle lanes any special courtesy. although it would be better if they signaled right well ahead of time -- or let's be ambitious here, let you pass first -- instead of cutting in front of you suddenly and then stopping.

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)
Doesn't work for me

If every cabby only stopped in a travel lane after a concerted effort to find something curbside failed that would be one thing. But clearly that's not the way things work. By default, they stop in traffic so they can get back into traffic more quickly.

Anonymous's picture
Roberto (not verified)

I would rather not have them crossing the bike lane twice - once to pull to the curb and once to get back in traffic. I don't think there is an elegant solution to this one - but yeah, signals and a little caution would be great!

A few weeks ago I got into a cab that stopped in the traffic lane (outside of the bike lane) on Hudson, near West 11th Street. A cop stepped out in front of the cab, told the cabbie he was supposed to pull all the way to the curb, opened my door and then hailed me another cab. As I left in my new cab, he was beginning to write a ticket for the other driver.

Anonymous's picture
E. Dwayne Shredloe (not verified)
Cab drivers getting tickets? Can't hear you!

"In my experience, most cab drivers wouldn't even know they're getting tickets. They're (almost universally) too busy chatting on their cell phones, sometimes via bluetooth, in some foreign language, with some person halfway around the earth from New York.

Had a near miss with a cab lately? Possibly because the phone-zombified driver was too passionately involved with blabbing into his phone to notice you. Did your driver miss an obvious turn while you were a passenger? Same probable cause.

Using or even possessing a cell phone behind the driver's seat in a taxi ought to be cause for license suspension and tag revocation. This would not only reduce passenger annoyance, but also help to save cyclists' lives.

When taxis fares got an increase, I was furious. An increase for what? To help pay for nine hours a day of international phone calling?

""If God meant us to spend all day on the telephone, he would have screwed batteries into our brains.""
--Lesciczs The Luddite

Your Pal,
E. Dwayne Shredloe


Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
taxi drivers are not allowed to use cell phones

taxi drivers are not allowed to use cellphones when driving even with handsfree operation.

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)
and yet...

I've never been in a cab or car service car where the driver was not on the phone the entire time.

Just goes to show you that banning something does not make it go away.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
i hope you didn't tip him

inform the cabdriver that he is in violation, and if he doesn't remove it pronto you will file a complaint with the TLC, and of course don't tip him.
i wish we could face the aggressive non TLC vehicle drivers as conveniently as the TLC has made it.

Anonymous's picture
JIM N (not verified)
Perhaps also relevant

"... is this New Yorker piece wherein it is described the ease with which taxis have their moving violations dismissed."

Anonymous's picture
david (not verified)
taxis in the bike lane

Everynight on my ride home on the CPW bike lane at least two taxis stop to let off passengers along CPW, blocking the bike lane. Most of those passengers cross the street on their way to their destination. These taxis force me into traffic and the pedestrians are also threatened as they cross the street. It is not neccesary to stop in the lane as most people are getting off to go across the street. It is just dangerous behavior for the convenience of the cabbie.

Anonymous's picture
Marcia (not verified)
(cell) call to arms

Use your phone cameras & file a complaint:

Anonymous's picture
Ron Torok (not verified)
Door Stickers

"On a related note:

I thought it would be a good program for NYCC to sponsor a taxi door sticker program.

Stickers would be placed in cabs (preferrably on passenger windows) warning passengers ""LOOK FOR CYCLISTS BEFORE OPENING"" (or something to that effect).

If you consider that a personal car may open its doors a couple to several times a day in the city, but taxis many dozens of times a day in the city, such a program that focuses on taxis could be extremely effective in reducing the number of doorings in New York.

I would imagine such a program's cost would be rather modest - 3,000 taxis, two stickers per cab, $0.25-0.50 a sticker (a w.a. guess) = $1,500 - $3,000. Can't imagine what reason the TLC would have to not support and mandate the implementation of the program.

Thoughts? Board action? Let me know how I can help.


Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
historical perspective
Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
in the works...?


The TLC has had a sticker design on hand (from TA) for a couple of years or so. They agreed in 2003 to distribute them to cabs, but never did. I believe some of us have posted on this board before about writing to the TLC to implement these stickers.

Here's some background from the TA site. (One article, from 2003, says there are 12,000 cabs.)

At present, however, the TLC supposedly going to include a message about looking for bicyclists in the new monitors going into cabs this year. This is from Noah at TA:

""The NYC Taxi & Limo Commission is currently rolling out their new Passenger Information Monitors (taxi TVs) in yellow cabs. They aim to have the Passenger Information Monitors in every cab by the end of 2007. The Taxi Commission has not yet seen the attached ads on this slide, but the Passenger Information Monitors that are being piloted now play messages to ""Exit Curbside"" and ""Watch for Bicycles"" when at the end of every taxi ride.""

Also, the NYC Bike Coalition (of which NYCC is a member) has been working with various city agencies on producing a public awareness campaign that is supposed to debut this spring, with the slogan ""Look"" at its center. Again from Noah:

""The Taxi Commission knows about the ""Look"" ad campaign and is interested in, at least, incorporating the ""Look"" logo into the Passenger Information Monitor safety messages.""

Perhaps the NYCC will set up a subcommittee of members who want to help to publicize Bike Coalition campaigns and take some of the weight off our board members. If you or anyone else has an ongoing interest in this, and would want to be involved -- it wouldn't have to be a big time commitment -- you should suggest it to our board.

I think the stickers, or any other official communication, are a great idea. Some passengers will scoff at them as they do with seatbelts. But behavior changes at a subconscious level, so the taxi agency's reinforcement can only help over time.


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