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