US

Nebraska group glues toilet plungers on road to promote safety of bike lanes

A bicycling advocacy group glued down 120 toilet plungers onto a busy Omaha, Nebraska, street on Monday to exhibit the advantages of a safe bike lane.

The group glued the plungers onto a street with painted bike lane lines near an Aksarben neighborhood intersection, according to Live Well Nebraska.

The group chose that location to place the reflective taped-wrapped plungers because the intersection has been the site of multiple car accidents, including a fatal one.

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The cycling advocates planned to take the plungers off the street after 36 hours. The group also intended on tracking car speeds and giving those statistics to the Public Works department, but the plans were nixed after the city removed the plungers on Monday afternoon, according to WOWT.

“The plans were to leave them out for 36 hours so people could see what a protected bike lane could do,” said Stuart Nottingham, one of the bicycle advocates who helped glue the plungers.

The Omaha Public Works previously examined the intersection and collected statistics on cars speeds before the plungers were installed, but the city is not planning on building protected bike lanes due to costs.

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The city is planning on building a roundabout to ease traffic at the busy intersection.

Todd Pfitzer, the assistant Omaha Public Works director, said the lanes would cost $1 million per mile. “There’s nothing budgeted for that, and it’s not in the (Capital Improvement Program),” he said.

This is not the first time toilet plungers were used to demonstrate a safer bike line. A group of activists in Wichita, Kansas, lined toilet plungers along a painted bike lane in February, according to the Wichita Eagle. City officials placed safety barriers on the street shortly after.