Month long ticketing blitz will target drivers who park in bike lanes

At the urging of Montreal's point person on active transit, police are cracking down on motorists who park in bike lanes - the kind designated by painted lines on the roadway. 

“The blitz is for the whole month of May,” said Marianne Giguere, city councillor for the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, who made the request. “A ticket costs, with all fees included, $170.”

She says parking in designated bike lanes, even if it is just for a moment, puts the lives of cyclists in danger.

“They don’t mean it, but what they are saying is, people on bikes, they’re not as important,” she said.

One of the worst streets in the city for this type of motorist behaviour is the stretch of Pine Avenue between Saint-Urbain and Saint-Denis, where street parking is not allowed on either side of the road, and both curb lanes are dedicated to bikes.

In the little over an hour that CJAD 800 spent at the corner of Pine and Saint-Laurent, at least three cars were all left idling on the bike path for up to five full minutes, with their four-way flashers on.

“It’s a big problem and it makes an already dangerous way of traveling, even more dangerous,” said one cyclist, after he was forced to swerve into traffic to avoid a delivery truck.

The city hopes the ticketing campaign will open people’s eyes to the dangers of blocking bike lanes; cyclists on Wednesday morning weren’t sure it will fix the problem.

“I guess (more tickets), but not only that,” said one woman who thinks motorists don’t quite understand the risks cyclists are taking every day. “There also needs to be an awareness campaign.”

Giguere says the city believes the only way to truly keep cyclists safe is to put physical barriers between bike and vehicular traffic; she says the city is working on building this infrastructure.

“In the meantime, we need to secure the existing network,” she said.