Toronto Police cracking down on illegal bike lane parking

The Toronto Police are cracking down on motorists who park in the city’s bike lanes this week as part of its ‘Right 2 Bike’ campaign.

Fine for parking in a bike lane is $150

Mayor John Tory kicked off "Bike to Work Day" on Monday, and led dozens of cyclists through the city streets. (CBC)

Toronto police are cracking down on motorists who park in the city's bike lanes as part of their "Right 2 Bike" campaign.

The crackdown, which started Monday morning, runs for a week. 

The police say illegal parking in bike lanes, which has long been a major headache for cyclists in the city, "deprives cyclists of their personal safety and impedes the orderly flow of bicycle traffic throughout the city."

The news comes on the same day as "bike to work day," which encourages commuters to ditch the car, bus or subway and travel by bike, instead.

The blitz is welcome to cycling advocates, who have been calling on police to do something about the scores of vehicles that park in the bike lanes every day.

"It's unfortunate that it has to be through the stick instead of the carrot," said cycling advocate Yvonne Bambrick. "Nobody ever wants to get a ticket for something, but it is a reminder of what you've done that's wrong."

Bambrick said a public education campaign would be better, as well as more regular, consistent enforcement.

She said the issue is so sensitive to cyclists because drivers park in bike lanes regularly, and because it threatens their safety.

She said it also sometimes leads to confrontations between motorists and cyclists.

"Cyclists feel so threatened on the roadway environment that when they're forced into the road because someone's parked in the one bit of bike infrastructure that they have, it's upsetting because you can tell that they have a complete disregard for your safety, or that's what it feels like."

The fine for parking in a bike lane is $150, up from $60 in 2014.

The city has also named this month "Bike Month" to support cyclists in the city.