Monday, April 02, 2007


In 2003, DHL purchased Airborne Express for about $1 Billion dollars. Their intent was to use Airborne's existing domestic fleet to augment their international network and become a threat to UPS and other shipping giants. Since 2003, the once familiar grey Airborne vans were quietly repainted and/or replaced , and the grey fleet became bright DHL yellow. Highly visible trucks, vans, and planes. They want to grow, according to the new combined company's chairman Carl Donaway. Donaway said, "And if we're going to grow, we're going to need more capacity."

This morning I was heading toward work, traveling north in the bike lane on Minnehaha Ave. As I approached 45th Street a DHL van turned north onto Minnehaha about 50 feet ahead of me. Traffic was fairly light, but the DHL van decided not to utilize the nearly empty main lane. Instead, the driver drove north in the bike lane. Apparently he was looking for a house and couldn't quite read the house numbers from the actual car lane. After a few blocks(!) he found the house he was looking for. Because there were a few cars parked in front of the house he wanted, he just stopped in the bike lane. Looking for an address is arduous business, so he'd been driving slowly. I'd been pacing him at about 50 feet behind for those few blocks. But once he stopped, I had to pull up and stop. There was, of course, traffic blocking me from taking the auto lane to go around the DHL van.

I pulled up behind the van and stopped. After waiting a few seconds, I gave the back door two quick open-palmed smacks to get the driver's attention. He looked at me in the rear view mirror, and I gestured for him to pull forward and park somewhere other than a valid lane of traffic. Instead of doing the considerate thing and moving, he shut off the van and got out with his package. I said, "You can't park here, this is a bike lane." His response? "Yeah." And then he walked off toward the house to deliver the package.

So, with the "How's my driving?" bumper sticker staring me straight in the face I pulled out the cell and called 800-827-SAFE. I informed them that the DHL truck number ZE506 had both driven in the bike lane and was currently parked in the bike lane. I'm not sure what's done with those reports, but it made me feel better. Carl Donaway says his company needs more capacity to grow. I would disagree, Carl. If you're going to grow, you're going to need more courtesy.

Date: April 2
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
April mileage: 26
Year to date mileage: 935


Dan said...

I had to work my way around a UPS truck yesterday that parked in a bike lane with a yellow curb even though there was a parking lot in front of the building receiving the delivery.

Pete said...

There's always people who will park like morons. It was the complete apathy and unwillingness to move when confronted that really bugged me.

Apertome said...

I'm glad you took action, even if it might not end up making much of a difference. I hope they at least talk to the guy about it, but I see Fedex/UPS/DHL trucks parked illegally all the time. You know, since they'll only be there for 30 seconds (or maybe 10 minutes), they can park wherever they want, right?

I've had to go around a Fedex truck parked illegally right near my workplace several times. The guy parallel parks illegally right next to our parking lot.

And you're right, people park (and drive) like morons all the time, I just find it particularly annoying when people who drive *for a living* act that way.

this verdant country said...

A few years ago, I repeatedly confronted a man who ran a parking lot downtown about his portable sign being installed in the bike lane everyday. Day after day I would tell him that he shouldn't keep the sign there, that it's a lane of traffic, etc, etc. After several encounters, he said, "who are you? the police?" I stopped, called him some nasty names, pulled out my camera, and photographed the infraction. Then I emailed the photo the MPD. They emailed back and told me they'd forward it to the part of the city government that governs parking lots. A couple days later the sign was installed in a slightly less visible place up on the curb. I never saw it blocking the bike lane again.

rigtenzin said...

This post made me so mad that I found a DHL truck and flatted the tires, filled the locks with super glue, and pooped on the driver's seat. (I made all that up, except the part about being mad.)