Bike Lane Cleanup

A Bike Noob reader who prefers to remain anonymous emailed me with a gripe the other day:

“As a daily bicycle commuter, I don’t ride on weekends. On Saturday and Sunday morning I decided to do some trail maintenance. I spent about an hour cleaning two of the bike lanes I ride in north Austin. Attached are the images of what I picked up. About 10 pounds of nails, screws, bolts, wood, chain, car parts and many pieces of lane reflectors. Any one of these items could cause a crash.”

My correspondent encourages us all to spend some time cleaning the bike lanes or roads that we ride. In addition to the trash pickup, he also cuts tree limbs that hang into the bike lane and sweeps up loose gravel.  Best time to do this kind of work: early on Sunday morning, he says, because traffic is light.

Wow. I must say, bike lane cleanup is not something I’ve ever done. Occasionally, I’ll stop to pick up a piece of metal and toss it off the road, but nothing organized like our friend. And yet, I think we can all say that this kind of cleanup is something that needs to be done. If we wait for the city street sweepers to do it, we’ll be waiting for months.

Do you, or your bike club, or just a group of like-minded bikers do any organized cleanup of bike lanes in your area? Share your stories.


  1. oldguy says

    I’ve heard some discussion by City of Austin that street sweeping will someday include bike lanes.

    I’ve had my street sweeped dozens of times, even though it doesn’t really need it that often (culdesac with low traffic). Seems to me that the city could use that resource where it’s needed. I’ve never seen a sweeper on Metric, Parkfield, Woodrow, etc.

    Maybe I’ll adopt parts of Metric near my house.

  2. says

    My wife and I also do some walking on the MUP close to our apartment, we pick up trash, push glass out of the path, ect. while we walk. I’ve been thinking of buying a push broom and cleaning the “trunnel” (under street MUP) as it’s plowed in the winter months and that cleans it out. In the spring/summer it get’s full of CRUD from people and winds. I get to use it all winter but I use the crosswalk in the summer to avoid flats from glass, stickers, etc.

  3. says

    I used to daydream about inventing a gadget to attach off the backwheel that would essentially convert my bike into a street sweeper. Wouldn’t really clean the mess, just sweep it further aside.

  4. says

    There’s a leg-buckling, sometimes will-to-live-sapping climb (but a great ride all the same), in Taichung county, Taiwan–the famed “136”. Popular with riders there’s a nice lookout rest area that attracts motorists and motorcycle riders who just turf their rubbish every which way. It’s a real putoff as you top the climb to see that. Luckily the county government have a reasonably efficient cleanup routine for the area given the push to make Taiwan a “cycling island”.

    see for a picture of the rest area (search [ctrl F] “amazing mountain views” on the page)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *