Savvy Cyclists Create Sticker That Shames Drivers Who Park in Bike Lanes

The neon green 'I Parked in a Bike Lane' decals let two-wheeled commuters voice their frustration with less-than-polite motor vehicle operators.

(Photo: Ola Dusegard/Getty Images)

Feb 17, 2015· 2 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Sure, finding a parking spot for your car can be tough in most congested urban areas. But the next time you're considering double-parking in a lane for cyclists—even if it's just for a few minutes—you might find your vehicle decorated with a sticker that lets everyone know what you did: "I Parked in a Bike Lane."

(Photo: Courtesy I Parked in a Bike Lane)

 

The neon-green circles are the brainchild of two Toronto-based cyclists, who were so fed up with seeing vehicles double-parked in bike lanes that they decided a little public shaming was in order. Last August they began making the stickers for themselves and for friends as a joke. But given the ubiquity of the cars-in-bike-lanes problem, word of the effort has spread throughout the cycling community. Now the duo has a website where anyone can purchase rolls of 20 stickers for $5. Over the past few months it has sold 16,000 of the stickers to people from 20 countries.

“I've gotten so many emails from people saying their bike lane commutes are blocked by cars every single day,” wrote one of the anonymous creators of the stickers in an email.

Although it might not seem like that big a deal to block a bike lane while you dash into the dry cleaner, the obstruction forces cyclists to pedal into busy (and dangerous) car lanes. In 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 726 bicycle, tricycle, and unicycle riders were killed by motor vehicles, up 6 percent from the previous year. An additional 49,000 individuals were injured in accidents. At a time when we need more people to ditch their cars to cut pollution and reduce traffic congestion, putting folks at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle doesn't help the bicycling cause.

“Lots of cyclists, especially those that aren't comfortable riding in the flow of traffic, don't feel like they have a voice when their safety is compromised,” one of the creators wrote. The stickers are “an easy and non permanent/non damaging way to voice frustration.”

That said, the makers of the stickers have some sage advice for folks who want to slap the green circles on cars: "If you choose to participate, please be safe and aware of your actions - you may be confronted with aggression or legal implications from drivers," they wrote on their website. "Please take caution and use your judgement."

The makers of the stickers have received a few threats over email and through social media. Much of the vitriol reflects the long-standing divisions between car users and bikers.

“I hear things like 'Oh [bikers have] never driven a car, they don't pay for the roads so they should get off the road,’ ” wrote one of the creators. "Anyone who is bothered by this campaign should spend a week commuting by bike in the city, and I think they would change their minds."

As for angry drivers who may have had their double-parking behavior exposed, the website has a helpful tip for them too: "If you’ve reached this page because you’re angry someone stickered your car, the solution is really simple - DON’T PARK IN BIKE LANES," they wrote.