London

The city's taking a 'zero tolerance' approach to vehicles parking in King Street's bike lane

The City of London is reminding drivers to stay in their own lane after photos surfaced on social media of vehicles illegally parked or stopped in the King Street bike lane that officially opens on Thursday.

Twitter users took to social media to call out the illegal behaviour

London Bicycle Cafe posted this photo on Twitter on June 6 and captioned it "Am I doing it right? #LdnOntBike." (London Bicycle Cafe/Twitter )

The City of London is reminding drivers to stay in their own lane after photos surfaced on social media of vehicles illegally parked or stopped in the King Street bike lane that officially opens on Thursday.

Construction of the temporary protected bike lane between Ridout and Colborne Streets began in early April.

Since then, the city has received numerous complaints about vehicles in the bike lane intended solely for cyclists. Bylaw officers have even issued some parking tickets.

The city was also alerted through posts by Twitter users who took to social media to call out the illegal behaviour.

"Bike lanes are for the use of bikes. They're not for parking. They're not for loading or unloading. They're not for stopping. Their exclusive use is for bikes … Cars need to stay in their lanes. Bikes use the bike lane," said Annette Drost, manager of parking services.

She said anyone breaking the law is subject to a $60 parking fine, which may increase, under the traffic and parking bylaw.

 "We have to make sure that people understand that this is a more serious offence and it's definitely safety related," she added.

Caught on camera

Ben Cowie, of the London Bicycle Café, said the issue is an indicator that the city needs protected bike lanes more than ever.

"It tells me there is an even greater need for protected bike lanes for the city and that cars are finding a way to create a dangerous obstruction for a cyclist even in a protected bike lane," he said.

Ben Cowie of the London Bicycle Cafe. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

The shop published several photos of parked or stopped vehicles to raise awareness and deter others from doing the same thing. 

Cowie said he understands that there may be an adjustment period for some and hopes the city takes an educational approach after it officially opens.

City ramps up enforcement

Though construction is still technically underway for the next few days, the city has already put up 'no parking' and 'no stopping' signage.

City bylaw officers have already been busy patrolling the streets, issuing at least 31 parking tickets along King Street since May, said Drost.

She said there will be an increased presence of bylaw officers even after the bike lane opens.

The city has installed signage along King Street. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

"There is going to be zero tolerance. I have strictly instructed my enforcement staff when they come across a vehicle parked in a bike lane or a no stopping zone to issue a ticket. There will be no discussion," she said.

Right now, the city can only issue parking tickets on the spot, however that may soon change. The city is planning on implementing an administrative monetary penalty system in the fall that allows bylaw officers to issue tickets by mail.

The city is also working with businesses along King Street to educate them about the rules.

There will be an information session at the evening farmer's market on Thursday.

Anyone who sees the bike lanes being used improperly is encouraged to call or email parking enforcement.

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