Drivers Beware: The Traffic Safety Reporting Apps Are Coming

" On Valencia Street, Safe Lanes users have documented Priuses and delivery trucks and pickups and Ubers blocking the bike lanes every few feet. Seeing those violations (represented by red or yellow exclamation points) on an ever-updating map offers a powerful visual reminder of the safety crisis on city streets: Bike lanes are being ignored, bicyclists and pedestrians are being killed by drivers, and cities are failing to live up to the Vision Zero pledges they’ve made. With an app like this, citizens are equipped with tools that can hold drivers accountable for risky behavior—and cities get the data they need to build better bike infrastructure.

“There’s been this cultural shift of normalizing that it’s OK to be taking photos and videos of other people in public,” said Rachel Thomas, the founding director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics at the University of San Francisco’s Data Institute, and the co-founder of the online coding school The illusion of privacy in the public sphere may have always been an illusion, but with many more eyes and lenses trained on the streets, the age-old practice of “being seen” can evolve quickly into being shared, and being stored. And perhaps being unfairly tried and convicted in the court of public opinion."

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