How to deal with cars parked in bike lanes

The post on Thursday on’s first anniversary by Spacing’s Tammy Thorne reminded me of the post I made back in mid-April promoting our bike lane awareness poster.

Cars parked in bike lanes is one of my greatest pet peeves in this city and I’m not sure if drivers understand the message it sends to cyclists. It says, “my convenience is much more important than your safety.”

I’ve posted the poster on Spacing’s Flickr account (you can download the different sized versions by clicking on “All Sizes”) or if you want a high-res version you can grab it from Photobucket. We encourage any and all of you to download it, put it on your blogs and web sites, post it on utility poles near parking spots with bike lanes, or photocopy it and place it on windshields when appropriate. We have left space at the bottom of the poster for you to include your group’s logo or whatever you want to place there (feel free to remove our logo/website entirely if you wish).

The most important thing is to get the message out to the general public on how important it is for cyclists to have an unobstructed path free from the dangers of cars and trucks. We need to communicate better on how cyclists and drivers need to share the road and show respect for one another.

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We’d be very happy to supply any organization with a high-resolution version if they have problems downloading it from the above mentioned sites. Please contact us by email.


  1. The Cycling Committee also makes a “parking ticket” for cyclists to give to cars parked in bike lanes. I don’t know if you can still get them, but I picked up a fistful at the East York Civic Centre last year. For the curious, I put a couple of pictures on my blog after you first mentioned this poster last April.

  2. Again, before you guys start promo-ing respect for cyclists, maybe you should airbrush the cyclist on the sidewalk?

    Just think using this as pro-cyclist propaganda might be a bit counter-productive with that in there…

    I mean if you’re going to talk about giving cyclists respect on the road, where’s the respect for pedestrians on the sidewalk? Perhaps it’s just bitterness as I’m currently in Waterloo, where the bike paths remain unused as I constantly have cyclists zooming by and narrowly missing me as I walk to work.

  3. Chris> I looked at this picture a bunch of times and only saw the cyclist on the sidewalk when you pointed it out. I think you’re just bitter, cuz it doesn’t matter.

  4. “I think you’re just bitter, cuz it doesn’t matter.”

    It matters to pedestrians.

    How would you like it if a pedestrian walked in YOUR lane?

  5. Sue,

    Actually, it’s not uncommon to find pedestrians in the bike lanes, especially in the on-road bike lane in high-park. It’s usually joggers or speed-waddlers. Not sure why they need to use the bike lane when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk right beside them.

    I often see hoards of joggers on the King St. bike lane in Hamilton too. Why do they do this??

    I’m sure someday I’ll come across a scene where there is: 1) A jogger running on the road, a cyclist on the sidewalk, and a motorist parked in the bike lane. I hope I have my camera with me.

  6. Sue> Since subtlety is lost on the internet — a tiny picture of a cyclist caught riding on a siding, that most people won’t notice, is no big deal and not an act of support to such activity. It’s nitpicky to pick at it.

  7. I find that major offenders are courier companies and Canada Post… I wonder what kind of education / outreach / enforcement would be effective to address that issue.

  8. The point is you’re complaining about something very similar. Car’s aren’t supposed to park in bike lanes, bikes aren’t supposed to be on the sidewalk. I don’t see where bitterness comes into play…it’s illegal and somewhat hypocritical.

    This same thing was posted in the comments of the previous posting so I’m not the first to notice it. I don’t see what gives bikers any more right to ride on the sidewalks than cars to park in bike lanes.

  9. OK I just figured out your Guy on the Internet who you can’t reason with. If you insist that the accidental inclusion of somebody riding on a sidewalk in the blurry background is an endorsement of Sidewalk Riding, well, then, goodluck with everything else!

  10. So I guess that makes me The Woman on the Internet You Can’t Reason With.

    I am swayed by your reasoning. Was that subtle enough?

  11. Matt – wish I’d thought to link back to this in my rant the other day. Der. I sure hope you’ll have copies at hand for carfree day???
    Vic> Hilarious! I cannot wait to see that pic of a jogger running on the road, a cyclist on the sidewalk, and a motorist parked in the bike lane.
    That would have to be the automatic winner in an I Bike TO photo-scaveneger hunt.

  12. Sigh…I am well aware it’s an accidental inclusion…

    That doesn’t change the fact that it is still there. I’m simply pointing out that it’s a perfect opening for people to attack the movement and try and discredit the whole campaign. I was merely suggesting that perhaps choosing a different background (as much as I love my area getting repped) or airbrushing out the law-breaking cyclist, would plug any holes in the poster’s argument.

    Does anyone from Spacing have anything to say on this?

  13. Vic> That’s great that you see joggers in bike lanes…report them or launch a campaign. It still doesn’t make it right for bicycles to be riding on the sidewalks. Pedestrians aren’t just joggers…some of us walk too. When it comes down to it, I think pedestrian rights to use the sidewalk trump the rules of any vehicle to use a road.

  14. Vic: jogging on asphalt is apparently better for your knees than pavement. Could that be it?

  15. I prefer calling it in, the city’s parking enforcement can be reached at 416-808-6600. The number is also on the city’s bike map.
    Call it in, Call it in, Call it in, until the phone line is clogged and the superiors make it a priority to enforce jut to clear up the phone lines.

  16. I think that it’s a great example of repetition. Here are two bikes; one in the foreground, one in the background; both in places they don’t belong. It totally emphasizes the point that everyone needs their own space

    But maybe that’s just me.

  17. From the looks of it, the road in this photo doesn’t look very bike friendly, wide lanes, suburban or midtown, and NO bike lanes. I’m not supporting that mystery cyclist’s presence on the sidewalk, but I agree with Blake – it says a lot about Toronto’s transit infrastructure altogether.

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