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Is $150 an appropriate fine for parking in the bike lane?

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 18, 2012

toronto sherbourne bike laneEast end cyclists rejoice. The city announced this morning it has officially wrapped up construction work on Toronto's first set of separated bike lanes on Sherbourne Street, declaring a new by-law in effect for rogue parkers on the stretch between Bloor and Queens Quay.

The new rules, adopted at the last council meeting, ban all vehicles from blocking the lane at any time. Offenders, the city says, will be slapped with a $150 fine. Naturally, emergency responders, Wheel-Trans, hydro and city utlity vehicles are exempt.

The existing bike lane by-law allows taxis to collect and deliver fares inside painted markings without risking a ticket and doesn't seem to offer as much protection to cyclists. The new rules will hopefully reduce the number of cars and delivery trucks photographed illegally parked by disgruntled cyclists.

"This has been planned since the design was conceived, so it's not in response to that," says Daniel Egan, Manager of Cycling Infrastructure at Transportation Services. "We recognized early on that we need to have separate rules for the cycle track."

There are new rules for users of the bikeway, too. Cyclists must stop behind the doors of a parked bus, in the same way all road users must for a streetcar, at designated TTC stops on Sherbourne because the lanes pass between the bus and the curb. The press release hints that police and parking enforcement will be keeping a close eye out for any rule-breakers.

To celebrate the opening, Cycle Toronto is planning a group ride and audit on Jan. 5.

Will these new rules help improve cycling in Toronto? Will you use the new Sherbourne lanes? Do you have any concerns about the new by-law? Tell us below.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Sherbourne 'Separated' Bike Lane" by Martin Reis.

Discussion

71 Comments

the lemur / December 18, 2012 at 02:05 pm
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It's an appropriate fine. It just needs to be enforced, and cops need to set a good example. I saw two cop cars parked in the Sherbourne lane on Saturday. They were not responding to an emergency and there was a driveway nearby that they could easily have parked in.
bob / December 18, 2012 at 02:06 pm
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What's the fee for parking/standing in a no standing zone? Should probably be the same.
Paul / December 18, 2012 at 02:19 pm
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This lane is a disaster. It does nothing to prevent cars and trucks from parking the in the bike lane, and makes it dangerous for cyclists to get out of the lane to get around parked vehicles. This will be enforced for the first few weeks and then forgotten like every other bike lane in the city.

A monumental waste of $250k
me replying to a comment from bob / December 18, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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What's the fee for parking/standing in a handicapped spot? Should probably be the same.
jie / December 18, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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Couriers won't stop parking in bike lanes. They get bulk deals for parking tickets, and the risk/reward makes it worth it for them.
What's really needed is an incremental fine scheme:
1st time: $150
2nd time: $300
3rd time and thereafter: $600 and surrender vehicle for 10 days
_n / December 18, 2012 at 02:34 pm
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An incremental scheme is a good idea.

But again, this all boils down to enforcement, and I have strong doubts it will be enforced.

Frankly the lane should have been designed better from the start. I hope they don't do this kind of design elsewhere, it will not deter drivers from parking in the bike lane. Or if they do, they should budget for some flexible bollards.
Garmin / December 18, 2012 at 02:45 pm
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Yes $150 is an appropriate fine for bad car behaviour but how about some $150 fines for inappropriate bicycle behaviour?
no where to park / December 18, 2012 at 02:47 pm
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I cycle as much as I drive but when I saw Sherbourne last week I don't completely blame delivery drivers for parking there. Most of the room for cars is a single lane now and then there is this 2 metre cycle lane that will be mostly empty all winter. You couldn't possibly stop without completely blocking all traffic in one direction. Why didn't they put north and south lanes together in a completely separated section? Also, I think the big price tag does include a lot of repaving of the road.
michael / December 18, 2012 at 03:04 pm
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I don't know why they didnt make the bike lanes in the style they have in montreal, or nyc. One separated lane with two way bike traffic.

for example, http://blog.worldfriends.tv/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/montreal-cycle-track1.jpg

the other side could then be used for parking. the bike lanes take up monumental room, and fail to prevent cars from parking on them.
Danny P replying to a comment from no where to park / December 18, 2012 at 03:06 pm
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I was surprised to see the lane there last night and used it. It's not even close to 2 metres.
Al replying to a comment from Garmin / December 18, 2012 at 03:09 pm
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I agree. If someone takes up a street lane by leaving their bike in the middle of the lane, they should get a $150 fine. Not that I've ever seen it happen.
Me / December 18, 2012 at 03:34 pm
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Delivery drivers should just start parking in the road as a "protest" and then after a while maybe the bike lanes will be removed.
UPS Guy / December 18, 2012 at 03:37 pm
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Who cares my boss pays those fines... So expect to see the big brown beast parked in your bike lane losers!
Chris / December 18, 2012 at 04:06 pm
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I was using the lane late at night, some people had parked in the bike lane... I had to go up on the sidewalk to get around them as there was no feasible way to use the road. What annoys me is that Jarvis street is a much wider street that could easily accommodate two lanes of traffic in each direction as well as the bike lanes. Instead we have Sherbourne and so cars have no where to stop anymore (while on Jarvis they could have just stopped on the rightmost car lane). What's even worse is that when you get near the lakefront the Sherbourne lane ends, but the road is currently very bumpy and not very suitable for biking... So, for those who want to go to the lake front, it makes more sense to use Jarvis, even without the bike lane, because at least the road is flat the entire way down.
Chris / December 18, 2012 at 04:08 pm
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One thing I saw one night that kind of worked though is a car with one side parked in the bike lane and another side parked in the traffic lane. This actually kind of worked as it left room for both cars and bikes. Still, the Jarvis bike lane was far more sensible than this thing.
Joe / December 18, 2012 at 05:05 pm
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Got to thank Denzil Minnan-Wong for this disaster. He's wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money, only to make traffic worse for both cars and cyclists. Hopefully his taxpayers will realize this and make this Rob Ford loyalist a one time councillor.
Ford4ever / December 18, 2012 at 05:21 pm
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It should be equivalent to the fine for riding a bike on the sidewalk.
gagasr replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 18, 2012 at 05:55 pm
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Which isn't actually illegal for new cyclists uncomfortable with riding with busy traffic.
Luke / December 18, 2012 at 06:23 pm
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The new lanes have made me ride over to Parliament and Jarvis to avoid them. The raised part makes passing and moving out to turn very difficult.
Jay / December 18, 2012 at 06:33 pm
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Separated lanes, increased fines, and the bitching still has not stopped. It will never be good enough. The constant whining just makes the rest of us tune out. I used to be sympathetic to the needs of cyclists but I can't bare to listen to it anymore.
Loraine / December 18, 2012 at 06:36 pm
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whatever as long as people don't pull out in front of you even though you are furiously ringing your bell or open their doors and nearly kill you I'm good. breed non-idiots please thanks.
Barba replying to a comment from Jay / December 18, 2012 at 06:40 pm
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Safety is annoying!
me replying to a comment from Jay / December 18, 2012 at 07:00 pm
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Most cyclists were content when the lanes were on Jarvis.
lisaD replying to a comment from bob / December 18, 2012 at 07:06 pm
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Agreed.
Me replying to a comment from Jay / December 18, 2012 at 07:38 pm
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To whine is to be Leftie. It's why they get up in the morning. Finding wrong and injustice is like breathing to them.
Chris replying to a comment from Me / December 18, 2012 at 08:08 pm
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And to label anyone who doesn't agree with them a lefty or socialist, rather than actually address the point being made is to be a right-winger. A steadfast refusal to engage in rational debate without resorting to name-calling is like breathing to them.
Gabrial / December 18, 2012 at 08:50 pm
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Yes $150 is an appropriate fine! To endanger lives just so you can stop/park where you want, bikes have to go around you out into the traffic lane, pushing cars around you too. You can still park there if it's worth it to you in time or money and just pay the $150.
Death Race 2013 / December 18, 2012 at 08:58 pm
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I'd rather a $150 reward to motorists who run down a cyclist.
Paul / December 18, 2012 at 09:27 pm
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What the point of fines that aren't enforced? There are fines for bicyclists that don't stop and red lights or open streetcar doors yet it happens all the time and virtually no one ever gets caught.
beep beep / December 18, 2012 at 09:48 pm
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"The existing bike lane by-law allows taxis to collect and deliver fares inside painted markings without risking a ticket and doesn't seem to offer as much protection to cyclists."


CHRIST.

GO.

AROUND.

Miroslav Glavic / December 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm
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I've been going Bloor-Queens Quay for over a month.

I noticed at the bottom of Sherbourne, south of roughly Gardenier, it turns SOUTHBOUND ONLY. I usually get a bixi on at church and bloor station, then head east to Sherbourne and then south to Queens Quay then west to Dockside drive.

That southbound only part is annoying.
Small Fries replying to a comment from beep beep / December 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm
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FUDGE THAT! They should fine delivery people making hand over fist tips cash money under the table!!!
the lemur replying to a comment from Paul / December 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm
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Because cops have to witness it to charge the cyclist, and are more interested in catching drivers doing stuff, some of the time at least.
the lemur replying to a comment from beep beep / December 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm
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Going around puts you in the path of impatient drivers - the opposite of the purpose of bike lanes. The separation on the Sherbourne lanes means that if you do want to leave the bike lane, you have to do it well in advance of what you want to go around, but at the same time it's not enough to keep cars out.
the lemur replying to a comment from Miroslav Glavic / December 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm
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That's because the full Sherbourne lanes aren't finished yet.
Dirk replying to a comment from the lemur / December 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm
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We're still not getting after people texting or on the phone while driving! IT WAS A BIG ISSUE just a year ago, the laws in place BUT everywhere I look people texting, phoning, chatting, while driving.
Riiiiight replying to a comment from Me / December 19, 2012 at 01:03 am
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Oh yeah, Righties never complain. Don't take my guns! Don't take my car! Don't take my white privilege! Don;t take my taxes and spend them on things that don't benefit gun-toting, car-driving, tax-dodging, sacks of old flesh.
Aaron / December 19, 2012 at 01:05 am
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Before building these you'd think they would have looked to cities with established bike networks for ideas. Instead, they plough ahead with these half-assed, cheap-shit excuses for separated lanes that are almost as dangerous as they are ineffective. Toronto's ability to fuck up almost everything is astounding. It's as if the people in charge have never left the city and simply do whatever they imagine other cities are doing.
So scared. replying to a comment from Death Race 2013 / December 19, 2012 at 01:05 am
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Come at me bro.
James replying to a comment from Death Race 2013 / December 19, 2012 at 07:44 am
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Couldn't agree more!
Andrew replying to a comment from UPS Guy / December 19, 2012 at 08:32 am
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UPS guy, I have to say, you always deliver my packages well. You people make Canada Post look like knobs. I'll gladly traipse my bike around your truck. But those fucking taxis, no way!
the lemur replying to a comment from Dirk / December 19, 2012 at 09:05 am
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Yep. It's like some people don't know or care that you can see them holding the phone to their ear - I can't believe I still see people doing that, usually as they're turning across a pedestrian crossing without looking. And texting, doing the two-handed BlackBerry thing ... they don't seem to realize that cyclists in particular can see them doing that.
the lemur replying to a comment from Aaron / December 19, 2012 at 09:10 am
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They did actually look at other cities during the planning process (http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/network/pdf/2012-01-26_sherbourne_street_panel_boards.pdf) but Toronto being hellbent on compromise as usual, they managed not to include most of the good parts.
Al / December 19, 2012 at 09:13 am
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Tow them and impound them.
Me replying to a comment from the lemur / December 19, 2012 at 09:45 am
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Cyclists do it too.
the lemur replying to a comment from Me / December 19, 2012 at 10:12 am
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That's true and it's just as much of a distraction to them, but when people are supposed to be in control of a car it becomes a bit more hazardous. I don't know if cyclists think it's not a big deal or that the rule doesn't apply to them (I pull over and stop if I get a call while biking), but I get the impression that the drivers who call/text either don't care or else they try to hide it.
trickydisco / December 19, 2012 at 10:48 am
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why shouldn't the bikers yield the way cars need to when bikes weave in and out of cars and take the middle of the lane blocking traffic? All for biking but unfortunately too many think they're somehow entitled to the road as much as a vehicle and put themselves in danger. Get over it about the fines, i wish police would enforce stupid bikers as much as the do drivers, it's give and take. $150 is just plain stupid
the lemur replying to a comment from trickydisco / December 19, 2012 at 11:37 am
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Because the point of the separated lanes is to separate bikes from cars so they don't have to get in each other's way. If you're already biking in a separated lane and a car moves into it, it's not as easy for a bike to get out of the lane as it is for a car to get in.

Hello, a bike IS a vehicle under the HTA and yes, a bike is entitled to use the lane if required for safety (roadworks, bad road conditions, debris, etc.).

And yes, the cops do enforce laws against cyclists (I was fined $105 for an incomplete stop a few years ago), but only once or twice a year and in the same spots every time. Considering how many more drivers there are, it's not surprising they get dinged more often, although they still get away with a lot.
Sean replying to a comment from bob / December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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Well I'll tell you. They tow your car. Happened to me last Canada Day and it was a bitch to get car back but you can bet I won't be doing that again. This was in a little side street with lots of room for emergency and every other stop was taken. Doesn't matter, I was wrong, I paid the price and I won't be doing that again.
metric replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm
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The kind of small-minded rednecked comment I'd expect from someone who calls himself Ford4ever
metric replying to a comment from beep beep / December 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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In response to 'Beep beep''s comment "
CHRIST.

GO.

AROUND."

You want me to swerve into traffic and get honked at or run down by some a$$hole like you?
metric replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm
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Ford4ever / DECEMBER 18, 2012 AT 05:21 PM said:
"It should be equivalent to the fine for riding a bike on the sidewalk."

This is the kind of small-minded rednecked comment I'd expect from someone who calls himself Ford4ever.
Todd replying to a comment from metric / December 19, 2012 at 01:15 pm
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He's not wrong. Cyclists should be fined for riding on the sidewalk.
metric replying to a comment from Todd / December 19, 2012 at 02:30 pm
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Sure, no cyclist should barrel down the sidewalk carelessly, but on occasion one doesn't have the choice and/or it's the safest option. For example, crossing the Spadina overpass across the tracks during rush hour. The sidewalk is more than 12 feet wide and the road is completely choked with cars leaving no room to cycle. I will always ride on the edge of the sidewalk, to the left of the lamp-posts out of the way of the occasional pedestrian. To insist that ' thou shall not cycle on the sidewalk' is inflexible and moronic. I dare anyone to tell me not to, including a cop.
Todd replying to a comment from metric / December 19, 2012 at 03:03 pm
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I agree about wider sidewalks, pedestrians generally don't walk along the curb on those... I'm mostly concerned with douchebags barreling down a sidewalk that's only a few feet wide. You need to be fined for that, or preferably, driven to a remote location, shot, and left for the bears.
Me / December 19, 2012 at 03:17 pm
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I just push them off as they come at me.
metric replying to a comment from Todd / December 19, 2012 at 05:56 pm
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Most of the people I see barreling down sidewalks in an inconsiderate fashion are marginal types who don't seem to know whether they're coming or going anyhow. Those with their full faculties acting in a similarly inconsiderate manner tend to be behind the wheel of a car, not a handlebar. In this case I'd agree with you Todd, forget the fine, they need to be taken to a remote location, shot, and left for the bears.
beep beep replying to a comment from metric / December 19, 2012 at 08:13 pm
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metric replying to a comment from beep beep / DECEMBER 19, 2012 AT 12:27 PM
In response to 'Beep beep''s comment "
CHRIST.

GO.

AROUND."

You want me to swerve into traffic and get honked at or run down by some a$$hole like you?
-------


No, dumbass, you safely merge into traffic just like any car would have to do if something was blocking the lane.

You look, you signal, you go.

Dumbass.
metric / December 19, 2012 at 09:16 pm
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That's what I do you, until some fucking prick like you comes along and rages at anyone who they perceive might get in their way. Go fuck yourself, you contemptuous dumbass.
metric / December 19, 2012 at 09:35 pm
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The point is, a separated bike lane is intended to provide a means for cyclists to navigate without having to contend with assholes like you. If it becomes the de-facto parking spot for cabs and couriers it kind of renders the whole point of it useless now, doesn't it? In fact it makes it even more dangerous because suddenly bikes are forced to merge with traffic that may not necessarily be accommodating (if drivers you are present) or be travelling at a compatible speed.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from metric / December 20, 2012 at 09:04 am
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"The kind of small-minded rednecked comment I'd expect from someone who calls himself Ford4ever"

I don't see how my comment warranted that kind of ad hominem attack, frankly. Taking up a bike lane, by parking or driving should carry a penalty similar to that of riding your bicycle on the sidewalk. It's a similar offence, no?

If the big bad woad makes you afwaid, get off your bike and walk it.



metric replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am
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You earn every bit of every ad-hominem that comes your way.

I'm not afraid of the road, at all. I can traverse downtown faster than any car, at any time - no sidewalks necessarily except for the occasional hop onto and off of the curb to avoid a pinch. But it's the less confident and or able cyclists that I'm concerned about. I can deal with assholes like you, not everybody can.
metric / December 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm
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You earned every bit ad-hominem that comes your way. I'm not afraid of the road, at all. I can traverse downtown faster than any car, at any time - no sidewalks necessarily except for the occasional hop onto and off of the curb to avoid a pinch. But it's the less confident and or able cyclists that I'm concerned about. I can deal with assholes like you, not everybody can.
Tzv / December 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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Based on the attitudes towards cars I am surprised that the penalty is not death by firing squad.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from metric / December 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm
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I'm actually a cyclist and transit user, friend. Hell, I bet my bike is even faster than yours.

"Ford4ever" simply refers to the fate that awaits this city as long as the Left fails to understand that you cant have entitlements without responsibilities, and insists on berating/belittling anyone who does not share their Portlandia vision. This discussion, and your shrill comments therein (how many people have you insulted here?), bolster my argument.

Progressives who want to win power in this city should be pleading with people like you to shut up and try a little diplomacy. You can't out-shout Ford Nation -- you can only out-smart it.
metric replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 21, 2012 at 12:19 am
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On the contrary, from my experience cyclists and other 'pinko types' are passive and mild mannered to a fault. Typical scenario is a cyclist gets near-doored, cut off, swerved into... and they do little more than roll their eyes and keep going. I'm the exception to the rule - I'm the one who gets photos and video footage of these pricks and files reports to the police. I've lobbied to force cabs to park against the curb, not 4 feet from the curb where the only place a cyclist can go is into the tracks etc. And if someone tries to give me a door prize they'll be getting a prize of their own, with interest.
Me / December 21, 2012 at 01:16 am
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You can't get by a cab four feet from the curb? Really? You need more than four feet width for your bicycle? makes me REALLY glad you don't drive a car!!
the lemur replying to a comment from Me / December 21, 2012 at 09:18 am
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I think the deal is that it's easier to get around to the left of a cab that's right up against the curb (and better for passengers who don't have to step into the gutter when getting in and out). But cabbies have a habit of parking well away from the curb, which means biking to the left puts you into the next lane and trying to pass between the cab and the curb means having to anticipate the nearside (curbside) doors being flung open.
Haha / December 21, 2012 at 10:14 am
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Good point but I was also thinking he started off whining he WANTS cars to park away from the curb, outside the bike lanes.
metric replying to a comment from Me / December 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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Lemur has it right. 'Me' and 'Haha', you guys are a couple of trolling assmonkeys, and by the way I do also drive a car, I'm just not lazy or foolish enough to consider it a reasonable means of getting around in the city on a day to day basis.
Hernandez replying to a comment from jie / December 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm
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"3rd time and thereafter: $600 and surrender vehicle for 10 days"
I want some of that stuff your sniffing,shooting up or smoking! Could you meet me at the Salvation Army shelter at queen and sherbourne ASAP?

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