Toronto police have launched initiatives to promote road safety and target vehicles blocking bike lanes.
The “S.P.A.C.E. to Cycle” campaign, which stands for Safety, Prevention, Awareness, Courtesy, Education, begins June 12 and ends June 18.
Some of the infractions police will keep an eye on include drivers failing to proceed through turns safely and opening vehicle doors improperly. Parking enforcement personnel will also concentrate on vehicles blocking bicycle lanes.
So far this year, police have recorded 58 ‘dooring’ incidents and are reminding drivers to obey the one-metre rule when approaching and passing cyclists.
Kyle Ashley, a Toronto police parking enforcement officer, will be embarking on a one-month project specifically ticketing vehicles blocking bike lanes. Throughout the project, Ashley will be using social media to promote awareness, hear complaints and engage with residents and businesses.
“My presence changes behaviours … I’ve been out on the road now about 20, 25 minutes, just coming across College, and in that time I was able to write 10 bike lane tickets and one accessible parking ticket,” he told Global News Monday morning.
“The infractions are out here and people are crying for it, and cyclists have stopped to give me high fives.”
Ashley said commercial vehicles are those most often stopping in bike lanes.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of abuse by courier companies. I even tweeted out a picture of Canada Post,” he said.
“We’re seeing it be more delivery companies than personal passengers who are just driving themselves to work or coming to enjoy the city. Uber drivers and taxi drivers are the next biggest group that are difficult to sort of herd.”
Meanwhile, police said road safety is a shared responsibility between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The enforcement campaign is part of the city’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan which aims to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto streets.
With files from Lama Nicolas and Ryan Rocca