You can now poop in a Toronto bike lane because why the heck not
Disrespect for bike lanes is at what feels like an all-time high in Toronto, riders forced to contend with all sorts of obstacles and blockages as delivery trucks and construction sites commandeer infrastructure designed for cyclists for their own convenience.
But there is no example more egregious than the latest; a Toronto bike lane literally turned into a place for construction crews to answer nature's call.
Personal injury lawyer and cyclist rights advocate David Shellnutt — an outspoken voice on social media — tweeted a completely bonkers photo of a bike lane on Brant Street, just north of Richmond Street West, with a newly-added port-o-potty taking up approximately 80 per cent of the lane width.
Bike lane being used as a toilet is peak @JohnTory's Toronto. @311Toronto @TO_Transport can we get someone to look into this please? Yesterday, for a couple days, Brant x Richmond - #BikeTO pic.twitter.com/kzhWRWHYIk— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) November 23, 2022
Shellnutt tells blogTO that, as of Tuesday afternoon, the temporary toilet had already been in place in the southbound cycle track for a few days at the time when he snapped the photo.
"New entry in our running list of the worst bike lanes on the planet," tweeted Momentum Mag. "This gem says a lot about the state of cycling in #toronto."
In a true twist of irony, the temp toilet was revealed to be part of a project to — and I swear I'm not making this up — improve that very bike lane.
Becky Katz, Manager of Cycling and Pedestrian Projects at the City of Toronto, responded to the tweet thread with a perplexing explanation and an assurance that the disruption will be removed soon.
This is actually our teams construction for upgrades to the bikeway. Our contractors need access to a bathroom. It will be gone this week.— Becky Katz (@BeckyKatz96) November 23, 2022
A toilet in a Toronto bike lane almost reads like a metaphor, a situation Shellnutt says epitomizes the apparent disregard for safety in this city.
"A stronger signal could not be sent by the city, construction companies, etc. that our safety is a secondary concern."
Thanks for the clarity @BeckyKatz96 so the toilet is gone? We are all a bit on edge, sadly, and on top of the bike rack bike lane obstruction on Yonge that was there 4 days, and no signage to explain this toilet (which has happened before), people were concerned...— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) November 23, 2022
"The sad reality is that this kind of thinking and negligence does cause harm. People do get injured," says Shellnutt, adding that his practice is "currently proceeding with several blocked bike lane cases for injured cyclists."
He asks, "If this toilet was used for the purpose of blocking a lane under construction, it begs the question, why on earth?"
"Proper signage and high visibility markers should be used to shut down throughways, not port-o-potties."
But somehow, this isn’t even the most offensive abuse of a Toronto bike lane in the last week.
Shellnutt says, "The toilet in the bike lane is only trumped by the bike rack knocked into the Yonge Bike Lane. A huge, gnarled steel obstruction that forced cyclists for the better part of the week into Yonge Street car traffic."
@biketo @CycleToronto @CycleTOMidtown @311Toronto @thebikebrigade @TheBikingLawyer heads up, there’s a— The Biking Veterinarian (He/Him) (@thebikingvet) November 19, 2022
a bike rack in the bike lane on Yonge St between Aylmer and Crescent at Budd Sugarman Park pic.twitter.com/xtJs7crnDS
"That this remained in the bike lane for at least four days after the city was notified is unnerving," says Shellnutt. "Do our elected officials and the people we pay to run this city care so little about cyclists that they allow hazards to persist for days?"
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