Ottawa cyclist stages one-man protest over illegally parked truck
Cycling advocate Kevin O’Donnell staged a spontaneous protest on Laurier Avenue after a Shred-It truck blocked his path Wednesday morning.
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A cyclist took a stand Wednesday morning after one too many delivery trucks parked in his path.
Kevin O’Donnell was biking to work down Laurier Avenue near the University of Ottawa when he was blocked by a Shred-It van parked in a no-stopping tow-away zone.
Usually O’Donnell would go around without much more than a pointed tweet.
But this time, he said, enough was enough.
“I chose to protest that truck and what it was doing,” O’Donnell said.
He stood with his bike behind the truck’s back wheel, taking up the remaining part of the lane and forcing cars to drive around him.
The protest lasted about 15 minutes, until the truck driver came back and drove away.
But in the meantime, two police officers and a city worker showed up – not to ticket or tow the illegally parked truck, O’Donnell said, but to ask O’Donnell to stop blocking traffic. The truck did receive a warning, police said.
Shred-It couldn’t be reached for comment.
The situation highlights the double standard that exists when it comes to supporting all modes of transportation, O’Donnell said.
“Cars have primary use of everything at all times, and damn the consequences,” he said. “The city has a blind spot to the daily frustrations of pedestrians and cyclists.”
He said cars, city vehicles and delivery trucks routinely park on bike lanes, pull up onto sidewalks or otherwise block walking and cycling facilities.
O'Donnell didn't engage the truck driver, he said, because the driver was just doing what car culture tells him to do.
"He’s everybody, he’s every delivery truck, every driver, every person who thinks it's ok to block a thing that people who aren’t in cars really rely on to keep them safe," he said.
Bylaw officers usually respond to parking problems on a complaint basis.
O’Donnell said he wants a higher fine for illegally parking in a bike lane or a no-parking zone, so delivery trucks can’t afford to break the law.