Fake posters satirically tell Toronto drivers to park illegally in bike lanes

Click to play video: 'Fake posters in Bloor-Annex area of Toronto tell drivers to park in bike lanes'
Fake posters in Bloor-Annex area of Toronto tell drivers to park in bike lanes
WATCH: Fake posters in Bloor-Annex area of Toronto tell drivers to park in bike lanes – Nov 8, 2022

Posters imitating the City of Toronto covered poles across Bloor Street in the Annex satirically telling drivers to continue parking in the bike lanes. The posters, which have since been torn down by the Bloor-Annex BIA, have caused a stir in the community.

“It’s so subtle that it can be misleading for some,” said Brian Bruche, Bloor Annex BIA general manager, of the posters’ likeness to City branding.

The posters were originally discovered a week ago, according to Burchell, and showed the same colour of blue used by the city and even imitated their exact fonts and numbers for 3-1-1.

Called “Parking in Bike Lanes, Get the Facts,” the fake signs called Toronto a “car-first city” and informed drivers of what time they can park in bike lanes. For example, food delivery drivers could park between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for 20 minutes, while delivery drivers could park in the laneway as long as they liked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Local police had access to the lanes “24/7: Police can park and block bike lanes for any purpose. Rules do not apply to law enforcement,” according to the signs.

However, the issue is not a laughing matter for Burchell.

“Avoid trying to make a joke where there’s someone’s safety at risk,” he said.

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The City of Toronto told Global News they are investigating the fraudulent posters.

The issue is serious to many cyclists, including Alain Pesedor who nearly got clipped by a car that mounted the bike lane while trying to park.

“I’m very frustrated. At times quite angry. I kept my cool there in that instance, but I have to admit it doesn’t happen a lot of the times,” said Pesedor.

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He said he’s been biking in Toronto for over a decade and acknowledges there is a lack of safety when it comes to bike lanes.

“There’s this dissociation with those who are used to being in a car and those that are cycling,” he said.

Pesedor said on Tuesday alone, he noted several instances of cars parked in the bike lane, either to make a delivery or simply to drop someone off.

“They seem not to know the rules,” he said.

In under an hour of filming on the corner of Bloor and Brunswick, Global News spotted at least five vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes for more than five minutes. While another four made moves to jump the curb onto the bike lane to park, others obstructed the bike lane to drop someone off or pick someone up.

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The challenge of being a cyclist in Toronto is one that Robin Richardson, a cyclist advocate, knows all too well. The mother of two, who bikes as her main form of transportation, says she is always wary when biking with her kids.

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“When the car is blocking a bike lane, we have three choices:  we can wait for the driver to move; we can go up on the sidewalk, which means we have to get off and walk; or we can get out into the car lane — none of those are great options when you have little kids or cyclists that aren’t comfortable,” she said.

Richardson thinks that the lack of safety and potential obstacles on the road could scare away potential cyclists, too.

“Seeing that the bike lanes are not reliably available to you makes you rethink if you want to bike,” she said.

While the culture in the city may not change towards cyclists soon, Richardson hopes the city takes the step to install greater safety measures in future and current bike lanes.

“Metal bollards would be fantastic, they protect gas mains and important government buildings, and I would love to see them protecting people like my family as well,” she said.

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