If you’re a cyclist, you’ve undoubtedly come across a motorist who’s parked in a bike lane. When confronted, it’s quite common to hear that they were just parking the for “two minutes.”
A group of Montreal bike advocates decided to give drivers a taste of their own medicine on Friday. Riders blocked the roads for motorists, in an effort to raise awareness.
According to a report in 24Heures, when a car stopped on the bike path in downtown Montreal, a group of cyclists did the same on the road. “I come to get my lunch, it lasts 2 minutes,” a driver said to the group of activists from the Vélorution Montreal group.
The protesters said that is not an excuse. “Those two minutes can be a matter of life and death. Why is the convenience of drivers more important than the safety of people on bikes?” Sophie Lavoie asked. “A bike lane is not a parking lot. There are plenty of parking lots. You just have to look a little.”
In the first ten minutes of the protest, the group say three vehicles came to a stop in a bike lane, which is illegal and dangerous.
“It may not be pleasant to have to turn on a street, park, walk three minutes to get your food, but for me it is the minimum of cohabitation, not to suddenly stop in a place where vulnerable people are,” Mathieu Murphy-Perron, a member of the collective Vélorution Montreal said.
The reaction from the motorists was mostly positive. An Uber driver who was driving on McGill Street when it was closed by the group of cyclists, told the riders he agreed with their actions, despite being delayed himself.
Not all motorists were thrilled, however. “Do you want me to tell you about the safety of cyclists? So many crazy cyclists who pass all over the road who do not pay attention to pedestrians, who do not pay attention to cars, they just ride everywhere,” one driver named Fabien said. “They have to respect others if they want to be respected.”
Lavoie says the city still has work to do to make it safe for cyclists and motorists to co-exist. “If the infrastructure was better distributed, if the redistribution of space was done in a much more equitable way, probably there would be fewer cyclists who would break the law.”