City of Pittsburgh partners with app to make travel safer for cyclists

PITTSBURGH — It’s an interaction captured on camera that shows a Pittsburgh police officer and Armin Samii in the Cultural District.

“You got nothing better to do than to screw me is that what you are doing,” the officer says in the video.

Samii was riding his bike when the officer’s patrol car blocked the bike lane. It’s an issue across the city that Samii said needs to be addressed.

“Everyone says it’s just a minute but those minutes start to add up. There are UPS drivers there for a few minutes, there’s gig workers there for a few minutes and you feel helpless as you are forced into oncoming traffic,” Samii said.

That traffic isn’t always kind to cyclists, with multiple crashes reported yearly in the city.

“Cars are flying by and they don’t give you enough room,” said Christian Cole, who’s a Pitt junior.

Now cyclists are tracking their routes with the app Dashcam for your Bike. It’s the same one that recorded that encounter with police and allows you to report any car in a bike lane straight to 311.

“Law enforcement is there to protect and serve. Their whole thing is the safety of the community and if even they don’t know we are putting our lives at risk,” Samii said.

Samii asked if police aren’t following the rules, then how can you expect other drivers to? We asked Pittsburgh police about the interaction captured on video. They said they’re aware of it and are looking into it.

So what is the solution? Sami said a simple fix would be the flex poles that you see in some neighborhoods that protect cyclists and take away any opportunity to park.

“It’s important for people to have options and accessibility when it comes to how to get places,” said Harrison Romero, who’s a Pitt sophomore.

In the first three months of the app being used, over 400 hazards to cyclists were reported, with almost all of them being cars in the bike lane. But Samii told Channel 11 that when the posts went up on Penn Avenue, the issues on that stretch dropped to almost zero.

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