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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.