The power of the orange cone
Inspired by the Urban Repair Squad, the Bike Lane Bouncers create a virtual bike lane for cyclists who have to ride around cars parked in the bike lane
by Jun Nogami
Cars and other motor vehicles parking in bike lanes is a problem all over the city. A group of concerned citizens decided to draw some attention to this issue by staging an intervention during a balmy Friday evening in July. The idea was that on a given block of the Bloor bike lane, if a car parked in the lane, they would create a virtual bike lane during the time the car was blocking the real bike lane. This action was partially inspired by a similar action called "a guaranteed bike lane" done by members of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) and the urban repair squad a few years ago.
Friday evening was chosen as a time when there would be plenty of activity on the street. As it turns out, there was also plenty of bike traffic at that time. We were on the north side of Bloor between Brunswick and Albany.
Even before we could get fully set up, a car parked in the lane, and it was gone before we could react.
Ironically after that, it was a while before another "customer" came along. We took this as a positive sign that there is some awareness, at least in this neighbourhood, that you shouldn't park in the bike lane.
Several of the stops were by Uber drivers. It is our understanding that taxis are allowed to drop off or pick up on painted bike lanes such as this particular section of the Bloor bike lane, but not on cycle tracks such as the bollard protected section that was across the street from us. What is not clear is whether Uber of Lyft drivers have the same rights to stop.
This fellow saw what we were doing and came to talk to us about the lack of parking for Uber food drivers. He was doing a food pickup, and was parked correctly across the street, but he said that the removal of some street parking had made his job much more difficult. He was civil about it, and understood our point of view as well.
This video shows two interventions.
We got many positive whoops from cyclist, and only a little honking from cars that had to stop. Flyers were also handed out to those drivers who would take them. We also attracted a crowd across the street that was enjoying this little bit of street theatre.
Here is a picture of the whole crew. You might call us "The Bike Lane Bouncers."
A shorter version of the video posted on Twitter the day after the event has attracted 30,000 views and almost 500 retweets. One hopes that the message that you shouldn't park in a bike lane is slowly getting out there.
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