Should Police be allowed to block bike lanes?

police car
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Shuter street bike lane

A lot of cyclists complain about cops parking in bike lanes. There is even a Tumblr website Cops in Bike Lanes showing photos, mostly in New York, of police cars parked in bike lanes. (They are also on Instagram.) Many of the people posting the photos have comments on them like "Officer was getting coffee. There was plenty of room to park twenty feet up."

There really are hundreds and hundreds of them, and they are not all in New York City either. Below is a post in Toronto, taken from the Toronto Police Facebook Page. A lot of people are following the tweets of parking officer Kyle Ashley and others are including his Twitter name in their own posts. This means that the police see them and sometimes comment on them, as they did here, justifying their use of the bike lane.

The original tweet and its account has been deleted, probably because the author of the tweet couldn't handle the comments on his tweet. Because if you read the comments on the police department page, there is not a whole lot of sympathy for complaining cyclists, with only one commenter suggesting that perhaps if they didn't come out with coffee and bagels it would look better. That didn't go down well either.

Now I don't think many people in either New York City or Toronto would complain about police blocking the bike lane in the line of duty. In fact, the law specifically mentions it and permits it:

toronto law bike lanesToronto bike lane rules/Screen capture

But it limits police parking in bike lanes specifically to "actively engaged in responding to an emergency" which does not include lunch.

But law or no law, you don't criticize police without getting a comeback like this tweeter did, including "they should be allowed to do what ever they want!" Others note that even when they are just getting coffees, they have to be able to respond quickly in case of emergency.

more responsesPolice facebook page/Screen capture

I personally am not that upset about the comments on the police Facebook site; obviously people who follow it are either police or serious supporters. I do worry about the few comments in there complaining about Kyle Ashley, and would not be surprised if the police turn on him if this keeps up. And I do worry about people who think that police "should be allowed to do what ever they want!" What do you think?

Should Police be allowed to block bike lanes?
The issue seems to cause outrage on both sides of the bike divide just about everywhere

Related Content on