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There’s a porta potty in a Toronto bike lane and it’s gotta be a metaphor for something

Paths have been plagued with cars parked and debris all summer

Photo by: David Shellnutt

Cars park in bike lanes. Trucks park in bike lanes. Garbage is left in bike lanes. But a toilet in a bike lane? This is new.

On Tuesday, David Shellnutt, a.k.a The Biking Lawyer, couldn’t believe what he was seeing. No, Dr. Who is not in town, and no, that’s not a T.A.R.D.I.S.

That’s a portable toilet placed right in the middle of a bike lane.

Although there’s been a big increase of bike lanes and infrastructure in the capital of Ontario, most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still persistent problems which seem to never get addressed.

There are many motorists who continue to park in bike lanes, delivery trucks who flout the rules, or construction companies who don’t respect the dedicated areas for riders.

After a heavy snowfall, many of the bike lanes in Toronto are still unplowed, a week later, despite all the roads being cleared.

Even before the weather got cold, there were problems with cyclists in the city.

Police ticketed cyclists all summer in High Park for speeding, even as some cyclists were harassed or assaulted by drivers.

This guy took a radar gun to Toronto’s High Park to check the speed of cars

A portable toilet parked in a bike lane is an obstacle that a cyclist surely couldn’t miss, but like a vehicle, it means they have to ride into traffic to get around it. A dedicated bike lane is safer for a cyclist, and every time a rider has to veer into the road with cars, it creates an unnecessary risk.

So yes, there are many more bike paths and cycle tracks in Toronto, but there are also many more riders. That means there needs to be even more focus on safety for cycling in the city.

Apparently, the toilet is for city workers to work on the curb and bike lane, but it’s unclear why it’s parked directly in the way of riders in the meantime, without any warning signs, creating a hazard.

Becky Katz from the City of Toronto tweeted that “It is actually our teams construction for upgrades to the bikeway. Our contractors need access to a bathroom. It will be gone this week.”