Update: We have learned there will be another wave of #festivebikelanes taking place in February for valentine's day ❤️ 💕. Keep us posted if you... spot one.
It appears "someone" or a group of "someones" have been spreading a bit of holiday cheer. As early as Sunday, December, 8th #FestiveBikeLane sightings began popping up around Chicago, Minneapolis, and even San Jose.
Block Club Chicago quickly took note, sending their reporter out to investigate. To no surprise of cyclists, you can even see a bike lane obstruction in Block Club's photos. The reporter hadn't even noticed until it was pointed out by the keen eye of twitter user @ChicagoScooters. Perhaps even a #festivebikelane is no match for a #grinchofbikelanes?
While no one appears to know who's behind the decorations. The Chicago Department of Transportation stated they believed "elves" might be behind the decorations. When City Lab asked us who we thought might be behind the decorations, we told them it might be "Santa".
While early #festivebikelanes showcased all the trimmings of Christmas, later ones represented themes of Hanukkah. While the Christmas bike lanes were fantastic, the Hanukkah themed lanes really turned things up to 11. For example, a popular Dearborn bike lane was converted into a menorah by some creative individual. They appeared to have affixed flames made out of fabric to the tops of 9 bollards, thus transforming the bollards into candles of a giant menorah.
Chicago Alderman James Cappleman's office is located on the Broadway bike lane, which was the recipient of quite a few decorations! Bollards in front of his office were decorated in ribbon and bows as well as a full size menorah and dreidels Based on his tweet, even Cappleman appears to be enjoying the decorations, stating they are "fabulous".
While we may never know who is behind these decorations, they sure have brought a bit of joy to the biking community. While festive bike lanes acted as a bit of surprise and delight for commuting cyclists, they also provided real safety benefits. These decorations made hard to see bollards a bit easier for drivers to spot. We've personally witnessed driving patterns change for the better due to these decorations. Even drivers seem to be enjoying the decorations, as witnessed by a few smiles.
While a bit lighthearted, the decorations also offer a way for us to keep the conversation about biking and bike lanes going throughout the winter. The more we can keep folks paying attention to cyclists and bike lanes throughout the winter, the safer it is out there for everyone.
Keep those decorations coming!