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Toronto might ban bike parking at anything but designated posts

Posted by Derek Flack / November 3, 2011

illegal bike parking TorontoIs this evidence of a war on cycling in Toronto or just a desire to keep the streetscape uncluttered? Earlier today the public works and infrastructure committee voted in favour of a by-law that would make it illegal for cyclists to park their bikes at anything other than an official City bike post or designated bike rack. The motion still needs approval from city council, but the sentiment alone is enough to frustrate local cyclists.

Here's the motion in question:

"No personal shall, without prior authorization from the General Manager, chain, lock or otherwise attach any article or thing to a waste receptacle, streetlight, parking meter, utility pole, transit shelter, fence, tree or other municipal property or authorized encroachment that is located in a street, and any article or thing that remains attached for more than 24 consecutive hours may be removed by the General Manager and disposed of pursuant to Article XVIII."

Some cycling advocates on Twitter have already noted that should this by-law be approved by city council, it will make what's already a challenging situation worse. It's hard to find a spot to lock one's bike in densely populated areas as it is, which means that the competition for bike posts will be downright cut-throat if this goes through. I completely understand the desire to protect young trees from careless cyclists who roughy affix their bikes to them, but there's plenty of unofficial places to lock bikes that don't result in harm to anyone.

Are bikes really that much of an eyesore?

Photo by Jezza323 in the blogTO Flickr pool



AssBackwards / November 3, 2011 at 06:29 pm
This city is turning into a hell hole, everything is completely ass backwards. What kind of morons come up with bylaws like this?
what?? / November 3, 2011 at 06:46 pm
I am kinda on the fence on this so far. But i do have a question for bike riders. Why do you feel you have the right to lock your bike where ever you feel for example: garbage cans, fences, etc. Drivers can't park where ever they feel like?
McRib / November 3, 2011 at 06:51 pm
my guess is that parasite Denzil Minnan-Wong.

im probably wrong, but still. what a douche
Nice Boy / November 3, 2011 at 06:52 pm
I think the root of this bylaw is allowing for the removal of bikes if left on property for over 24 hours.
wooden_tofu / November 3, 2011 at 06:56 pm
Can't we just make it illegal to lock up against a tree then? That's something I can get behind.
Snailspace replying to a comment from what?? / November 3, 2011 at 06:59 pm
Agree with AssBackwards here. Toronto just keeps on walking into blunt objects when it comes to rational, reasoned, productive urban development decision making. Should this by-law proceed, then couple it with abundant and secure bicycle parking at least double what is present right now. So many wonderful cities to take cues from in terms of something as simple and straightforward as bicycle parking - Paris, Copenhagen, Ferrara, Munich, Berlin, Bordeaux... hell, pretty much any European city, town, or village has a better approach than Toronto, and there's fundamental acceptance and planning around something as innocuous as bike parking.
As for what??'s comment - it's not a case of there being a right maligned, its simply that this city lacks adequate secure bicycle parking in areas that people frequent by bicycle. And some drivers DO tend to park cars where they feel like - Bike lanes, sidewalks, blocking driveways, etc.
Paul / November 3, 2011 at 07:15 pm
This is seriously stupid. I find it challenging to find ANY kind of fixture to lock my bike up to let alone an official ring and post. There is not enough bike parking in the city, and this will make it worse.
electric / November 3, 2011 at 07:35 pm
I like how Toronto shoots itself in the foot lately. Lol.

1) Increase profit of parking authority by inventing new arbitrary rules.
2) Subsequently decrease efficiency of city's transportation grid. (nobody notices that anyways)
3) ??
4) Profit.
_n / November 3, 2011 at 07:37 pm
Jack / November 3, 2011 at 07:38 pm
I don't see how they going to enforce this on non private property. The city takes forever to remove the bikes from city bike posts that are obviously abandoned.
What?? replying to a comment from Snailspace / November 3, 2011 at 07:48 pm
if the city dramatically increased bicycle parking in areas that people frequent by bicycles. Would bike riders be making a big deal about this.

James replying to a comment from Jack / November 3, 2011 at 07:50 pm
I agree with Jack--we all know of many examples of bikes abandoned for weeks or months that don't get removed even though the current rules allow it. So unless a lot more enforcement is added, it's just going to be business as usual and the likelihood that your bike will be removed will be about what it is now.
MacLobster / November 3, 2011 at 07:50 pm
I predict homicides if this goes through. Honestly one of the worst ideas. Said 10,000 times before, but thanks for promoting a healthy, automotive congestion-free city Toronto government. Slow clap.
anotherimmigrant / November 3, 2011 at 08:16 pm
is it my ignorance or does Toronto have the most by-laws (and seemingly tight-assed ones @ that) anywhere on earth?

James Eberhardt / November 3, 2011 at 08:17 pm
So if I'm reading this correctly, you just can't lock it up for more than 24 hours, correct? What is the penalty if I lock it up against a parking sign for 20 minutes while I run into a store?
Jeremy replying to a comment from what?? / November 3, 2011 at 08:31 pm
"Why do you feel you have the right to lock your bike where ever you feel for example: garbage cans, fences, etc. Drivers can't park where ever they feel like?"

Bikes are way smaller than cars. Plus the general idea that it would be nice to give perks to bike riders who reduce traffic congestion, stay healthier, blah, blah, blah.
Angie / November 3, 2011 at 08:34 pm
That's all fine and dandy, but perhaps the city should be proactive(erecting more places to lock up) rather than being defensive. Cyclists already have enough to put up with why be cruel to those of us who have decided to avoid the confinements of owning a vehicle?

josh / November 3, 2011 at 08:45 pm
Toronto is the worst city.
electric / November 3, 2011 at 09:08 pm
Toronto isn't the worst city - it only feels like it lately.

I'd like more post and rings, personally I don't like locking up to trees, fences or gas mains.
Meaningless / November 3, 2011 at 09:16 pm
With the 24 hour rule this is basically meaningless. All it's saying is: make sure you have a place to store your bike. I'm a cyclist, I agree with that. Lock it to a pole for a few hours and you won't have a problem, leave it there for days and it should be removed.
tracey / November 3, 2011 at 09:29 pm
More bike parking please.
Gordon / November 3, 2011 at 09:32 pm
Completely idiotic. There just isn't a city post ring everywhere in the city waiting for you and your bike. We should be making it EASIER, not harder. Unbelievable.
JimmySmack / November 3, 2011 at 09:32 pm
This week, in "unenforceable municipal micromanagement enacted by Neocons who are supposed to be for smaller, less intrusive government"!

Let's not get all riled up by this, it's stupid.
Pascale / November 3, 2011 at 09:33 pm
Ford: Killing this city, one by-law at a time
abe / November 3, 2011 at 09:39 pm
no this is bad and wrong and stupid and bad. why is EVERYTHING going away?
Cyclist / November 3, 2011 at 09:52 pm
Why are we making such a big deal out of this? I live and work downtown and ride everywhere, and rarely do I have to park my bike anywhere except for the ring-and-posts. Sure, sometimes I have to park a few doors down from where I am going, but it's for sure closer than where I would have to park a car.

Also, the by-law only allows for removal after 24 hours, and you shouldn't be storing your bike permanently on a pole or a gas main anyway.

I think the city has done a good job over the past couple of years with installing bike parking. Of course, we can always do with more but I think cyclists really have bigger issues than this.
Jim / November 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm
Are they nuts?
They need more bike posts then
O.K. / November 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm
This toothless by-law will only measure up in stupidity if the City funnels tons of cash to vigorously enforce it. Instead of lets say building more bike posts!IF the City does waste cash trying to chase pennies then the committee should be tied to a bike racked and hosed down in January for being such idiots.
tracey / November 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I found out yesterday that you can request bike rings here:


"We receive a very high volume of location suggestions, which are investigated on a first-come first-serve basis. It may take up to 6 months before a field inspection will be dispatched to a suggested bike parking location."

And so it goes.
Brad / November 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm
As a cyclist, I say to other cyclists: inhale deeply, exhale slowly, read the motion. This affects only bikes that are left unattended for 24 hours or more. If this were a flat-out ban on parking bikes away from designated bike posts, I do think it would be stupid -- as people are pointing out, there aren't enough of those bike posts on the street in some areas. But that's not what this is about.
FB / November 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm
How does the City plan to enforce this bylaw?
It's not possible.
Just a gravy train- sized waste of time.....
Khristopher / November 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Great idea.
How many times have you been walking on our small crowded sidewalks, and had to skirt around a fallen bike, because it was attached to some signpost instead of a proper bike lock?
This can be dangerous actually.

They will definitely need to install more bike posts for sure though.
Question replying to a comment from Khristopher / November 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm
99% of the time those bikes have fallen simply because people don't have the cranial capacity to lock more than the top bar to the post, leaving it completely free to roll and swivel around the post when the slightest breeze hits it.
electric / November 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm
If you leave it there for longer than 24hrs there is a good chance Kenk's crack peons will notice it before the city does.

If they ban this people who need to lock-up for longer than 24hrs(say staying at your friends on the w/e) will squat on the all the nearby ring and posts?

Locking up anywhere is something that naturally happens, i agree with removing abandoned bicycles but this policy is too aggressive.
Grrrrr / November 4, 2011 at 12:32 am
Ok, if this proposal goes through, then I say we setup a class action suit stating that the City of Toronto is denying the public to protect their property by not installing enough public bicycle racks/rings and in so doing:

A. denying the public to make conscientious decisions to improve air quality, health and well being of themselves and those around them

B. increasing congestion and pollution in a already overly congested roads by disallowing residents to use alternative transportation by disallowing them adequate parking for their bikes.

Both of this points also put additional strain of the health care system which is lacking much 'gravy' as Mayor Ford has seen to that.

The reason for such an action must be related to a 'war on bicycles', and couldn't have anything to do with our Mayor could it?
AssBackwards / November 4, 2011 at 12:33 am
I was recently in Amsterdam and they have multiple level parking garages JUST FOR BICYCLES. I could understand this bylaw if we had something like that here... But this is just completely absurd and stinks like gravy.

Not to mention, those bicycle rings here in Toronto are so easy to break. They've shown this several times on the news. A good pry bar and some brute force and those carriage bolts WILL snap. Toronto, why don't you try acting like the world-class city you are so desperately trying to be?
lukas replying to a comment from what?? / November 4, 2011 at 12:58 am
to answer the question of 'why bikers need to lock their bikes wherever' let's assume that locking a bike is the same as parking a car and take scale into consideration.

let's say you drive 20km and park your car 100m from where you are going then if you bike 2km you should technically be parking your bike 10m away from where you are going right? that's not so bad but on a street like Roncesvalles Ave. near High-Park it is somtimes near impossible to find a place to lock your bike and so we scramble for the safest place in sight.

i am shocked and appalled at this back-asswards bylaw!
why didn't they consult anyone... oh wait, i know why... rob ford.
lukas replying to a comment from What?? / November 4, 2011 at 01:01 am
'...would bike riders be making a big deal about this?'
well, probably not, but the fact is the city _won't_ increase bike parking where it counts. again Roncesvalles Ave. comes to mind (i live near by so it's a pet-peve) and again the city installed about a fifth of the number of bike parking rings they should/could have. why? i don't know. i'd like to say cause they're cheap but obviously putting a bike lane on a street not really known for much traffic anyway was expensive enough...
Helen / November 4, 2011 at 02:20 am
i've tried to request additional post & rings for certain areas where there were too few (e.g. on king st. in the financial district where i go to see my doctor.. good luck trying to find proper bike parking almost anywhere around there), and in kensington market (for a very bike heavy area, where are the post & rings?? hardly any around there!).. but i never get any response. i think i tried to request this more than once for both areas for the past 1.5 years or so.. nothing.

i only ever use a pole or other random thing to park to when there is no post & ring available. i suspect this is the case for most people. also, those bike racks that some places have installed where you have to put your wheel in between two bars are not safe or useful (for example, next to the sheraton hotel on queen west, outside some malls, etc.). my wheel is usually too big to properly fit in most of those, and even if it did, the design of those racks is horrible as they only allow those with a U-lock to lock the wheel to the rack, and not the frame. if i encounter one of these, i'd rather look for a pole than lock my bike to something and get my bike stolen.
Helen / November 4, 2011 at 02:21 am
oops, that should say: "i'd rather look for a pole than lock just my wheel to one of those and get my bike stolen."
Antony / November 4, 2011 at 08:32 am
Waiting time for a post-and-ring is over a year, perhaps more.

If the city wanted to 'de-clutter' the street, why did they agree to let Astral Media change the design of the "Info to go" pillars to 4 sqft. of "info" and 64 sqft. of advertising?

Absolutely useless "street furniture", with the tiniest fig leaf. I look forward to some creative vandalism on those godawful things.
Dave / November 4, 2011 at 08:40 am
Why do bikers get so upset and defensive over everything? Why do you feel the city and it people have to bow to you?

Does your bike seat tie you panties in a knot?
AssBackwards replying to a comment from Dave / November 4, 2011 at 08:58 am
Hey tool, come back when you actually have something useful to contribute to this discussion. Until then, take your panty loving self elsewhere, freak.

You mean to tell me you don't see anything wrong with this bylaw? No wonder the city is run by idiots. Morons like you voted them in
d_ / November 4, 2011 at 09:34 am
I feel like the city wastes time, don't you? There should be more support for cyclists and not less.
Joel M / November 4, 2011 at 10:04 am
At last our No Parking and Stop Sign poles can be free and clear... just as nature intended. Ugh.
GuyPaquette2 / November 4, 2011 at 10:13 am
I too am a cyclist & although it would be nice in a PERFECT world to allow bikes to attach themselves ONLY to designated bike locks/posts, this is not realistic. The city cannot possibly offer enough designated bike locks/posts for all of the bikers out there. I would however be in favour of selecting certain objects where bikes would NOT be allowed to attach their bikes such as bus shelters, garbage cans, store fronts, traffic light posts, stop signs which are at intersections.
GuyPaquette2 / November 4, 2011 at 10:13 am
I too am a cyclist & although it would be nice in a PERFECT world to allow bikes to attach themselves ONLY to designated bike locks/posts, this is not realistic. The city cannot possibly offer enough designated bike locks/posts for all of the bikers out there. I would however be in favour of selecting certain objects where bikes would NOT be allowed to attach their bikes such as bus shelters, garbage cans, store fronts, traffic light posts, stop signs which are at intersections.
cultureshot / November 4, 2011 at 10:35 am
"Oh look, someone put a ticket on my bike for locking to a fence." *remove ticket, place in recycling bin, bike on.
Alex replying to a comment from cultureshot / November 4, 2011 at 10:47 am
I don't think they ticket it, they just remove it if left for over 24 hours. I really doubt they will actually spend more money to enforce this. More likely it is just to appease the people that voted Ford in to win the "War on Bikes". They are all stupid enough to think this bylaw actually means anything.
Sherri / November 4, 2011 at 11:00 am
Seriously? Rob Ford is an asshole if he passes this by-law with city council. I can see huge protest happening and people getting ruthless with parking their bikes. It is going to be chaos. Already there is no where to park my bike, now what am I going to do? Ride TTC? HECK NO! I ride my bike because it's cheaper, better for the environment and I don't have to sit next to people with offensive B.O.
lol replying to a comment from Sherri / November 4, 2011 at 11:24 am
uh, is he not if he doesn't?
Rena / November 4, 2011 at 01:21 pm
Yonge St has to be one of the worst offenders of lack of bike parking. I swear there have to be, like, 5 ring posts between Dundas and Queen. So basically, the city expects no more than 10 cyclists will be in the Eaton's Centre at a time? Cyclists don't choose to lock their bikes to trees just because. It's because there's nowhere else to park! Duh!
Allen / November 4, 2011 at 01:54 pm
When I drive to an area, I often can't park right in front of the place I intend to visit. I sometimes have to park quite a distance away and walk the rest. Likewise, when I ride my bike somewhere, the official post/ring parking may not be right where I am visiting, or it may be used already by other cyclists. The reality is that you sometimes have to look further away for parking whether you are on a bike or in a car. In Toronto, there is always parking but not always right where it is most convenient for you. You can also avoid parking altogether by walking or taking transit to your destination.
Ace / November 4, 2011 at 02:23 pm
I have a few issues with this proposed by-law. 1. The city could never install enough ring and posts to meet cycling requirements. 2. By allowing cyclists to lock to other objects, the city does not run up the unnecessary expense of installing ring and posts where other bike locking solutions exist. 3. This is not about bike vs. car parking, it is about integrated transportation solutions for Toronto. More spaces to lock bikes = more incentive to ride a bike = fewer cars on the road = less grid lock for those who drive a car. 4. The city of Toronto can make all laws they want, who will they pay to enforce them? 5. Culture is about language and the language of this particular by-law gives the impression that the culture at city hall is anti-bike, which is bad because of point 3 above. 5. There are already laws about blocking the sidewalk which are routinely ignored by business and real estate agents with their sandwich boards. I personally am contacting my local councilor to ask her to reject, or at least reword, this by-law.
moronto replying to a comment from what?? / November 4, 2011 at 02:26 pm
bikes are not cars. comparing the two is just plain stupid. car owners can't park their cars wherever they want because THEY'RE HUGE! and i'm sure you would find that there is more available car parking than official city bicycle parking as it stands. If you really want to get technical with that idiotic comparison
Stuart B / November 4, 2011 at 02:49 pm
City zoning requires X number parking spots from every X square metres of commercial space or for each residential unit.

Until zoning as requires a specified number of bicycle lock-ups for each development then it is the motorists who are getting special priveleges and not the cyclists.
Rob Ford / November 4, 2011 at 03:04 pm
if the cyclists who cause all the problems would just move to Vancouver, Toronto would be a much better place!!
me / November 4, 2011 at 03:35 pm
if they enforce this by-law as well as they enforce the by-law prohibiting cars from parking in bike lanes, then cyclists have nothing to worry about.
Seriously / November 4, 2011 at 03:45 pm
Wow. Yet another lame duck completely unenforceable by-law. What the hell is the council thinking? How about they deal with the bug problems in subsidized housing, or the million other things more pressing than this nonsense. The day the ring and post is installed plentifully on every street in Toronto is the day I obey this stupidity --and not a moment sooner.
mike / November 4, 2011 at 04:12 pm
it should be illegal to lock to a tree, that hurts the tree. everything else is ok, i mean how is this bad exactly? also, they said 'for over 24 hrs', whose counting? whose job is it to do that?

can we please all work together to tell people that bike on the sidewalk that they look ridiculous and make everyone pissed off? i cycle every day, and these people make me mad. if its a kid, or that 1000 year old chinese lady, then ok, but if your a guy between 15 and 65, like whats ur problem, are you scared?
BrocktonDude replying to a comment from what?? / November 4, 2011 at 04:16 pm
Well, last I checked, it's a lot harder to walk off with a car. You NEED to lock your bike to something or else it might get what is known by cyclists as "stolen". Since there are so few proper places to lock up, what exactly are we supposed to do? I can't believe the stupidity of this city sometimes..
jbiz replying to a comment from Khristopher / November 4, 2011 at 04:23 pm
Saw one sprawled all over the sidewalk the other day... attached to a ring'n'post. Next argument?

The bylaw is for 24 hours. Just don't leave your bike locked to something over night, pretty simple. and yeah, probably not very well enforced. If I leave my bike locked with my Kryptonite lock on a parking sign overnight, are they going to rip the sign out of the ground? doubt it...
Beadle / November 4, 2011 at 05:32 pm
I honestly don't have a problem with bikes not being allowed to be locked up to other things than bike lock up rings. BUT only IF (lets be real it's never going to happen) a big IF they put out enough of those rings to allow all the bikes to be locked up to nothing but them. What a stupid idea this is and a big waste of time and money. We had major construction in our neighbourhood this spring and summer. They cut off most of the bike rings making them too short to be reused (waste of money). And I saw it happen with my own two eyes. Then they repaved the sidewalks but didn't replace them in the cement while is was wet. So now they have to come back and cut holes in the concrete to put in new bike rings. And that isn't going to happen until sometime in 2012? In the meantime where are you suppose to lock up your bike? We have maybe 12 bike rings from Lansdowne to Dufferin. Plus I can't even begin to imagine what that extra construction and new bike rings all will cost. Sorry about the rant but this stuff makes me crazy.
BikeToronto / November 4, 2011 at 06:13 pm
Is this bylaw actually passes, the cyclists of this city need to stand start taking it to the streets. This is getting absurd and it's reaching a boiling point.
Medford replying to a comment from what?? / November 4, 2011 at 06:43 pm
Certainly parking your bike WHEREVER you want is problematic (as in blocking traffic or preventing easy access somewhere), but the fact is the city simply does not have enough parking for bikes. If you're going to a bar, concert or any other place with a large confluence of cyclists, people will not be accommodated by all the legal bicycle posts in a ten block radius. The cars vs. bikes thing is stupid. We park wherever because our cycles are 2 inches wide and don't block traffic on sidewalks. Your car point is silly--we're talking about significant real estate to park a car.
AP / November 4, 2011 at 07:01 pm
Forgive me for not being alarmed ... I usually only park anywhere but home for no more than a couple of hours. How is this by-law even remotely threatening? Maybe I missed something?
AP replying to a comment from what?? / November 4, 2011 at 07:11 pm
Because we're lawless parasites.

No seriously, depends on the rider -- just like car parking is similarly afflicted by scoff-laws. Can you tell me why I cannot lock up to sign post (as a for instance)?
Matt_OMX / November 5, 2011 at 05:19 am
I think it is sad and tragic to suddenly find myself living in a city with a council so bankrupt in both money and ideas that they are going to start kidnapping people's bikes and holding them for ransom.
Warren / November 5, 2011 at 10:21 am
Hey BlogTO, how about a more clear headline?

I think a lot of people just read the headline and jumped to comments section seeking blood. I'm a cyclist, but I almost never leave my bike locked to anything for more than a few hours.

There are a lot of bikes that have rusted over because they just got flat abandoned. So, arguably, if the city removes those bikes, there's more room for you to park your bike for a couple hours.
Medicine Jon replying to a comment from what?? / November 5, 2011 at 10:21 am
On the Fence,

no pun intended?
thepoint / November 5, 2011 at 11:24 am
Morons who can count to potato.

New law proposal: after 24 hours, remove morons who can count to potato.
Bianca / November 5, 2011 at 04:14 pm
What kind of idiots run our city? Seriously?
Matt_OMX / November 6, 2011 at 08:17 am
Warren: if someone parks their bike in the same spot from 9 to 5 everyday and someone walks past at 9:30 am every day, that person could assume the bike has not moved. Then like any other bike thief, the city will snatch it, and hold it for ransom or eventually put it up for sale to the highest bidder.
Bianca, the other question of course is, WHY are the idiots who run our city wasting time on such a trivial matter when, as claimed by the mayor, we are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. I mean I thought that was their focus, not this kind of spiteful action against cyclist commuters.
JunctionJim / November 6, 2011 at 09:15 am
24 HOURS is the key to the bylaw. you can still use a pole when you go shopping, work, overnight, whatever...

Travis / November 9, 2011 at 10:58 am
I'll admit, I retweeted and almost complained before I read it too.

remains attached for more than 24 consecutive hours may be removed by the General Manager and disposed of pursuant to Article XVIII."

It may leave some grey area but hopefully it is going to help clean old bikes up and make people more aware when they attach their bikes to gas lines, benches and other areas. I think with this should come more accessible bike parking however. Most street stops should be able to fit 4 bikes rather than 2.

Travis / November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

I am sure they will have some sort of chalking to ensure that they are not picking up bikes from the day before. The same way they check to see if cars are parked longer than 4 hours.

Just a thought.
Salman Ruhsdi / November 11, 2011 at 01:14 am
If CARS and OTHER means of transportation are OBLIGATED by LAW to Follow the a APPLICABLE laws ans By-laws, why o WHY CYCLIST need to be exempted from it? Why law can not apply to cyclists??? Just Answer this question and I will give you keys of my car...If city INVESTED MONEY for those BIKE POSTS they EXPECT to be USED!!!
Salman Ruhsdi / November 11, 2011 at 01:20 am
You are bunch of lazy complainers nothing is good for you??? I should complain that city banned smoking indoors???City allow only selling hot dogs in our streets???I can not idle more than a One minute???...there are zillion by-laws that we need to live by!Suck it up and lock that bike where is supposed to be locked.Sometimes it is hard to walk down to Queen st due to improperly tied bikes!!!
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