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This video shows a taxi in a Vancouver bike lane. Cyclists say it happens all the time.
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver police are investigating after a driver captured a Bonny's Taxi cab on video driving in the separated bike lane on the Cambie Bridge, but cyclists say the incident is not at all rare and would like to see more enforcement.
A video showing the incident was uploaded to YouTube on Friday. In the video, a male driver and female passenger are chatting when they suddenly spot a taxi driving in the bike lane. The video shows the taxi driving behind a cyclist.
The driver's driving privileges have now been suspended "pending a full investigation by our management team," said Emon Bari, general manager of Bonny's and Queen City Taxi.
Joel Gibbs works for a bicycle delivery service called Shift Delivery. He said he and his co-workers encounter cars – including taxis – in Vancouver's fully separated lanes, like the ones on Dunsmuir or Hornby Street. But it's much more common to find cars parked or driving in the Carrall Street bike lane, which is only separated by a curb.
"We encounter this issue every single day. There's not one day that someone doesn't have an issue with a car parked in a bike lane, or a driver driving in a bike lane," Gibbs said.
A couple of months ago, Gibbs saw a taxi stop in the Dunsmuir Street separated bike lane, drop off a passenger, and then continue driving in the separated lane for another block.
"If you're like us with cargo tricycles, you're not able to get around that taxi," Gibbs said. "So if that taxi's coming in the bike lane, you basically have to find some sort of way to … avoid it and avoid getting run over."
Data shows Vancouver's separated lanes are working to increase the number of people cycling, said Gordon Price, an urban planner and former city councillor.
Separated lanes give drivers and cyclists a clear signal about "where you're supposed to be," Price said, and make biking a viable choice for people who might otherwise be too intimidated to cycle in traffic.
Gibbs said he and his fellow Shift Delivery workers regularly complain to City of Vancouver parking enforcement, but rarely see any follow up.
He'd like the city to better enforce the rules when it comes to giving cyclist space.
The tension between cyclists and drivers can boil over into confrontations: Gibbs said it's common for drivers to get out of their cars to yell at Shift deliverers, and one employee was recently punched in the face by an irate driver as he was cycling.
Gibbs said his message to drivers is simple.
"The vast majority of road space is allocated to cars in our cities," he said, "so please don't take up the tiny bits of space on our streets that are allocated for pedestrians and for bike and other non-car modes of transport."