Cyclists in Toronto fed up with motorists illegally parking in bike lanes are striking back – by placing stickers on cars to shame drivers into think twice about doing so in future. While some local cyclists have welcomed the idea, others warn it could lead to conflict between motorists and bike riders.
The green stickers, which cost C$5 a roll, have the words “I parked in a bike lane” on them, together with the hashtag, #IParkedInABikeLane. They were thought up by a pair of anonymous cyclists who say on their Tumblr page:
#IParkedInABikeLane was started out of frustration for the blatant disregard for cyclists and cycling infrastructure in Toronto. The concept is simple - you see a vehicle parked in a bike lane, you slap a sticker on it. The intention isn’t to cause damage or vandalize (the stickers don’t damage anything anyway) - it’s to get drivers to think twice about what they are doing and perhaps change their actions in the future. Parking and driving in bike lanes is not only inconsiderate and selfish, but also incredibly dangerous, especially for cyclists who are not comfortable integrating with the flow of traffic.
The pair, who insist they are not associated with and business or collective organisation, acknowledge that some motorists might get a bit upset if they catch someone stickering their vehicle and advise people: “If you choose to participate, please be safe and aware of your actions - you may be confronted with aggression or legal implications from drivers. Please take caution and use your judgement.
They have also issued a disclaimer, which reads: “By using these stickers, you agree that #IParkedInABikeLane assumes no responsibility or liability due to altercation, injury, damages, legal issues, etc due to individual use of these stickers, and your actions are of your own accord.”
In comments to a post on blogTO about the stickers, opinion is divided about whether or not they are a good idea – a number of posters have welcomed the idea, but others say that they may further deepen ill-feeling between some motorists and cyclists.
One commenter pointed out that there is already an official way to let motorists know they shouldn’t park in a bike lane – printing out and leaving a flyer issued by the Toronto Police Parking Enforcement Office, which warns motorists they face a C$60 fine if they block a bike lane with their car, even for a few moments.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.