Canada Post, Toronto's 'worst offender' for blocking bike lanes, vows to steer clear

Toronto’s most enthusiastic bike lane enforcer is one step closer to fulfilling his mission of keeping the city’s lanes clear of errant vehicles as Canada Post vows to stop its drivers from parking where they shouldn't.

'I'm elated by this,' parking enforcement officer Kyle Ashley says

Kyle Ashley, Toronto's parking enforcement officer who calls out bike lane invaders on Twitter says he is "elated" that Canada Post has vowed to keep its vehicles from parking where they shouldn't. (Kyle Ashley/Twitter)

Toronto's most proactive bike lane enforcer, Kyle Ashley, is one step closer to fulfilling his mission of keeping the city's bike lanes clear of errant vehicles as Canada Post vows to stop its drivers from parking where they shouldn't.

Canada Post announced on Tuesday their vehicles will stop parking in bike lanes while making deliveries or pickups throughout the city after Ashley thrust the delinquent postal vehicles into the spotlight of his Twitter account.

"I'm elated by this, and hoping for more from other companies to follow this example," the parking enforcement officer said.

Although he has only been guarding the city's bike lanes for seven weeks, Ashley told CBC Toronto that Canada Post is the "worst offender" for violating cyclist's space, based on his personal observation. 

"This problem isn't unique to Canada Post by any means," Ashley said on Monday. "They're right up there with the FedEx [and] all of these delivery companies, they are the most egregious offenders, followed by the people moving services — Ubers and taxis."

Riding a bicycle and armed with his smartphone, Ashley uses his Twitter account to highlight the physical dangers and financial penalties of blocking bike lanes.

"If a car is parked illegally in a bike lane, what that's going to do, is it's going to force a cyclist out of their dedicated safe space into a live lane of traffic," he explained. 

While he was riding his bike northbound on Shaw Street yesterday in Toronto's west end, he claims a Canada Post driver pulled right in front of him.

"The Canada Post truck came directly south, over the bike lane, parked over the sidewalk, made his delivery, looked at me and then just said to me that I care too much about my job," he said. "It's interactions like that where people see a uniformed officer standing there nevertheless this Canada Post driver just parked directly in front of me.

"This announcement today to me is long overdue."

On Friday, he also tweeted a photo of Canada Post van invading lanes on Runnymede Street.

"The other day I was called a jerk. Today … This driver… Used more colourful language, calling me a f------ idiot," the tweet read.

But Ashley says his presence helps deter people from breaking the law, which would cost them $157 by the end of the encounter.

As a result, Canada Post drivers are now expected to find a safe location to park for pickups or deliveries.

"Canada Post understands the concerns raised regarding safety and bike lanes in Toronto," the Crown corporation said in a statement. "As a result, we are instructing our employees to not park in bike lanes in the City of Toronto.

"If a safe parking location is not available, our employees are expected to avoid the stop, continue on their route and return any undelivered items to the depot."

Drivers are told to report any problem areas to their supervisor so a safety assessment can be done to find the best alternative.

On Tuesday, Mayor John Tory applauded Canada Post for listening to the concerns.

"By adjusting deliveries and drop-off locations, Canada Post showed the impact that an effective partnership can make when it comes to fighting congestion," Tory said in a statement. "This decision will help make the commute safer for cyclists."