Hamilton cyclists say vehicles should stay out of their bike lanes
Oliver Flood might be the most experienced six-year-old cyclist in Hamilton.
"He's always been on wheels" said Tom Flood, Oliver's dad.
Oliver and his dad hit the road together almost every day. When the Charlton bike lanes were installed, it allowed them to start biking to school, daycare, work and back.
But lately they've found the lanes designed to keep them safe are more of an obstacle course than a direct route. Vehicles keep parking in them, including Canada Post drivers making deliveries.
"People think, it's just one minute, I'll park in the bike lane and be right back," Flood said. "But if everyone does that it really adds up."
Flood says the problem of blocked bike lanes is especially critical for kids like Oliver.
"It's a shocking thing to have to swerve out of your lane into traffic," he said. "Especially for those that are younger or more vulnerable."
Earlier this week, Canada Post announced its vehicles would stop parking in bike lanes while making deliveries or pickups throughout the city of Toronto.
That announcement came after Kyle Ashley, Toronto's most proactive bike lane enforcer, thrust them into the spotlight of his Twitter account.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/canadapostcorp">@canadapostcorp</a> - issue tick for 150$ in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BikeTO?src=hash">#BikeTO</a> lane driver says he is staying bc already gave ticket. Ask to move around corner. Told no. <a href="https://t.co/pjD1cNfAQH">pic.twitter.com/pjD1cNfAQH</a>—@TPS_ParkingPal
Canada Post told CBC Hamilton this week that their employees are expected to follow traffic laws in every city when serving customers, which includes no-stopping zones like bike lanes.
"If there is an issue, customers should contact us so that we can investigate and address it," said Sylvie Lapointe, a spokesperson for Canada Post.
Flood says by no means is Canada Post the only offender — but the issue is so frequent that he and Oliver set out to document just how often they come across it.
For the past year or so they've been collecting pictures of their daily run-ins.
Keeping an eye on our bike lanes is his summer job. Will tabulate and provide to the city at the end of summer. <a href="https://t.co/6Enh4h6Z9h">pic.twitter.com/6Enh4h6Z9h</a>—@tomflood1
"It's not about shaming the driver, we really just want to track this and bring awareness," he said.
And according to social media, the Floods aren't the only ones concerned.
The hashtag #BlockedInHamOnt has been used dozens of times to highlight the issue across the city.
I've been encountering at least one blocked lane a day. Starting to document <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlockedinHamOnt?src=hash">#BlockedinHamOnt</a> <a href="https://t.co/l2L6AckGgf">pic.twitter.com/l2L6AckGgf</a>—@Suz_Mills
How about a quick afternoon ride? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/blockedinHamOnt?src=hash">#blockedinHamOnt</a> <a href="https://t.co/31Gl87RuDl">pic.twitter.com/31Gl87RuDl</a>—@BlockedinHamOnt
Today's obstacle course <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlockedinHamOnt?src=hash">#BlockedinHamOnt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash">#HamOnt</a> <a href="https://t.co/G6B2Wc3lEl">pic.twitter.com/G6B2Wc3lEl</a>—@jamesscarfone
Local cycling activist Ryan Mcgreal says he sees the issue a lot, too — but the solution is more complicated than simply asking drivers to avoid bike lanes, he says.
"The best way to fix this is to physically protect the space so it doesn't become an on-street parking spot," he said.
"Otherwise it defeats the purpose of providing dedicated space to keep cyclists safe."
Flood says he and Oliver plan to bring their hand-collected data to Hamilton City Council in September.
"We want to show them, 'Hey this is kind of a problem,' and maybe they can help us start to address this."