It's That Time of Year When Bike Lanes Disappear

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Cycling to and from lunch yesterday on Toronto's Davenport Road bike lane, I counted sixteen cars and delivery trucks blocking the lane both ways. This is after a winter when the bike lanes were completely buried in snow, cars pushed into the bike lanes by snow, or as Toronto writer Shawn Micallef calls them, "gutter glaciers" that are just finally melting now.

bike lane davenport

Lloyd Alter/ Davenport and Belmont/CC BY 2.0

So now, it is construction season and the construction trailers arrive. These things come in all kinds of widths, often built out of shipping containers. They come on stilts so that they can sit above the roadway. A simple choice can be made to rent a narrow one. A simple regulation could be passed: Don't block the bike lane if you have an alternative.


Lloyd Alter/ trailer in bike lane, with portapotty and Tesla/CC BY 2.0

It shows the state of concern about cyclists' safety and the importance of bike lanes in the minds of the politicians, bureaucrats and construction companies that the automatic default is a 12 foot wide trailer that blocks the full width of the parking spaces and the bike lane, with a CYCLISTS DISMOUNT sign as an optional extra. Something is fundamentally wrong when a city gives more consideration to porta-potties than it does to its cyclists.

Copenhagen bike diversion

Lloyd Alter/ Copenhagen bike route protection/CC BY 2.0

Of course in Copenhagen they do it all, a protected bike lane diversion and an construction trailer built on stilts.