It's been downloaded 100,000 times, but does it make a difference?
A few years ago we covered Towit, an app where users posted photos of vehicles blocking bike lanes. Even its developer agreed that unless connections were made to the police, it was largely "just yelling into an echo chamber, or, at best, passive-aggressive public aggression." Now it seems that it is no longer available.
In Germany, a new application, Wegeheld (Road Hero) seems to be much more effective and popular. It has been downloaded over one hundred thousand times and 70,000 photos of cars and trucks parked in bike lanes have been uploaded to Twitter.
Unlike Towit, this application reports violations to the relevant authorities. Cycling activist Heinrich Strössenreuther is quoted on Road.cc:
When asked if it was an app for snitchers, he said, “Well, it's not good to get hooked on the playground, but if one of the kids is holding a knife, it's all about danger, all parents are glad that someone has said something. “And this is actually about danger. If a child or an elderly woman staggering past a car parked in the bike lane, it is a dangerous situation. That is really the central problem. Right now, we have a selfish minority in traffic that is misbehaving and making the lives of the majority difficult. "
Strössenreuther points out that the police don't really take the problem seriously and that the fines are too low; Obviously they are only ten or 15 euros. "Once you pay 100 euros, you would think if you would put your car there a second time."
I am not that sure; In Toronto, Canada, there are cops on Twitter issuing what are essentially $ 100 fines, but Erin and Sabrina are still busy.
I hope this application will arrive in North America soon; no one's going to fine these guys, but a little passive-aggressive public embarrassment would be nice.