Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Tim Horton's At Richmond And Sherbourne

There's a Tim Hortons at Richmond and Sherbourne; maybe I should just take one day off sometime and photograph all the city vehicles who figure they can park in the bike lane to go make a Tim's run.

Instead, I have to content myself with occasionaly catching them as I go by. Here we have a Toronto Police car, #735, license AMBC-678, blocking the northbound Sherbourne bike lane at Richmond& and Sherbourne to make a Tim's run at about 5:45pm on July 7th, and a Toronto City pickup truck, #067008, license 383-1NS, doing the same at about 10:30 am on the same day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Toronto Works! Gerrard, July 5

Toronto Works truck #145015, License 273-OKL, blocking the eastbound
Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Yonge at about 10:15am on July 5.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Echo, Gerrard, July 5. Echo, Gerrard,....

Blue echo, license AFPN-377, blocking the eastbound Gerrard bike lane
at Gerrard and Sherbourne at about 5:15pm on July 5.

Mixer, July 5, Gerrard

Cement mixer, license ZT3-951, just ever so slightly in the way of the westbound Gerrard bike lane at
Gerrard and Yonge at about 10:15am on July 5.

UPS, Elizabeth, Jul 5

Another day, another UPS truck. UPS truck 509141, license
RE2-309 blocking the northbound Elizabeth bike path at href=",toronto,+ON&hl=en">Elizabeth and Gerrard at about 10:15am on July 5.

Chevrolet, July 5, Gerrard

Black chevrolet, license 797-KBV, blocking the westbound Dundas bikelane
at Dundas and Leslie at about 6:00pm on July 5.

Delivery Truck, Sherbourne, July 5

Once again, the bike lane being used as a delivery ramp. Pollock National Lease, License 144-5KR, blocking the northbound Sherbourne bike lane at Sherbourne and Richmond, at about 10am on July 5.

Van, July 5

White minivan, license BL9-456, blocking the westbound Gerrard bike lane
at Gerrard and Yonge at about 10:15am on July 5.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Culligan Water Delivery Truck, 29 Jun

Culligan truck again, license 442-2LP, Truck 37, blocking a different path this time; the northbound Elizabeth bikelane at Elizabeth and Gerrard at about 10am on 29 June.

Canada Post, Jun 29

Canada Post truck, license 548-1NH, Truck 53949-44,
blocking the westbound College bikelane at College and University at about 10am on 29 June.

Big Ol Truck, 29 June

Truck B54-55A blocking westbound Dundas bike lane at Dundas & DeGrassi at about 6:00pm on 29 June.

FedEx, 29 June

FedEx van 271-8AF, blocking the eastbound College st. bikelane at
College & University at about 5:30pm on 29 June.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Why Shouldn't I Park in the Bike Lane?

Why do we even need bike lanes?

Bicycles are vehicles under the law in Ontario. Cyclists may use the roads under the same laws as other vehicles.

But cyclists are a lot more vulnerable than motorists, especially on roads with heavy traffic. Cyclists have been killed at a modest but pretty steady rate on Toronto streets through collisions with cars. Over the decade from 1992-2001, there were 32 cyclist fatalities. To make bicycling safer, and to encourage more of it (because it reduces traffic wear on roads, and pollution), small lanes have been been set aside for bicycle use only aside on some major roads.

Setting aside small parts of the roadway isn't unusual. Cities often set aside lanes or entire roads for particular uses only -- like carpool lanes only for high occupancy vehicles (to encourage carpooling and reduce traffic), or forbidding heavy trucks on residential roads (for safety, to reduce noise and road wear-and-tear), or forbidding cyclists on highways. Nor are there a lot of bike lanes; Toronto has 51,000 km of roads, and 59 km of bike lanes; about one kilometer of bike lane for each 865 km of roads.

Is it even illegal to briefly stop in the bike lane?

The bicycle lanes are meant for traffic of vehicles. They are actual roadways, not the shoulder of a road. Blocking the bike lane, then, is blocking the roadway, covered under section 170 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and punishable by fines of up to $100 and having the vehicle towed; this is on top of whatever parking infractions might have occured.

Who does it hurt if I stop briefly in the bike lane?

The 2003 Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Accident Report is a detailed look of accidents that were reported to police between bicyclists and motor vehicles over the course of two years (1997 and 1998). Over that period, there were 2156 reported cyclist injuries from bike/car collisions, and ten cyclist deaths.

Obstructions of the bicycle path was a factor in at least seventeen of those accidents (`at least' because external contributing factors were only spottily reported in the police reports that provided the data). In these cases where the bike path being blocked was known to be a factor, six cyclists were sent to the hospital, and one was killed. Usually (eleven of the seventeen cases) when the bike lane was blocked, the car hit the bicyclist from behind in these cases -- which, maybe surprisingly, is one of the more fatal forms of car-bike collisions because the cyclist is likely run over as well as simply hit. That is why blocking the bike path, although accounting for as few as 17 of the over 2000 bike-car accidents over that period, contributed to almost a third of the cyclist fatalities those years.

On a road with a bike lane, drivers aren't expecting to have to deal with bicylists in the other lanes. A major road with a bicycle lane which is occasionally blocked means cyclists have to weave between the bike lane and the other lanes where drivers don't expect to see them, meaning a blocked bike lane can be more dangerous than no bike lane at all. The results can be a car-bicycle accident (in the 2003 report, the accidents were almost always with private cars), or a car-car accident as a driver swerves to avoid the cyclist.

Is it always illegal to stop in the bike lane?

It's pretty much always illegal to stop in the bike lane, for exactly the same reason that it's illegal to block a lane of car traffic. Having your hazards on doesn't make it legal, doing it only briefly doesn't make it legal, loading a couch into the car doesn't make it legal, and certainly none of those makes it any safer for cyclists.

There are exceptions, of course, but they are very limited. If a car breaks down, there's not much you can do if there's no where nearby to push it. An emergency vehicle responding to an emergency has to stop where it has to stop, and road work needs to happen on the roads. But unless it would be legal to stop in one of the other lanes, it isn't legal to stop in the bike lane.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Three Vehicle Pile Up near Gerrard & Mutual

Tag Dairy, Jun 27
Pile Up

One of the most annoying things about vehicles parking in the bike lane is that once one person does it, others figure they can, too. This FedEx truck (274-1AV) and this TAG Dairy Distributers truck (781-8LS) were blocking the westbound Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Mutual, and while I was there, a red car license 414-ZOD decided they could park behind them.

Our Graff Truck Again, June 27

Ah, yes, our Graff Truck again. (Type its license plate -- 721-7LD -- into the `search this blog' box and you can see its other appearences on this page.) It's in it's favourite spot, Gerrard & Yonge, at about 10am on Jun 27.

Canada Post Driving in Bike Lane, Jun 27

Canada Post truck 53949-44 (license 548-1NH) blocking the westbound bike lane near Gerrard and Yonge. After getting in, the driver proceeded to drive in the bike lane up to Gerrard and Bay. This is about 10am on June 27.

Culligan Water Truck

Culligan water truck #37, license 442-2LP (with a `Safety first: 1-866-605-9090; Truck number 963something) blocking the westbound bike path at College & University at about 10am on June 27.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Chevy on Gerrard

Green chevy 351-ADT blocking the eastbound Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Jarvis at 6:30pm on 24 June.

Able Atlantic Taxi

Able Atlantic Taxi ((416) 298-1111) AWSV-053 blocking the eastbound Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Yonge at 6:30pm on 24 June.

Pepsi Truck

Pepsi delivery truck OV4-113 blocking the westbound Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Bay at 10:15 am on 24 June.


Silver Volvo blocking the the eastbound Gerrard bike lane at Gerrard and Yonge at 6:30pm on 24 June.