Correcting the myths and misinformation concerning Toronto’s bike lanes

Final week, there was an unpleasant incident in Toronto involving a motorist stopping and threatening a bike owner. It occurs lots.

Some recommend it’s taking place extra now that a variety of mayoral candidates will not be solely threatening to tear up current protected bike lanes that preserve cyclists protected, but additionally including oxygen to anti-bike arguments and sentiments that aren’t correct and create “bike lash” conditions that put cyclists in additional jeopardy from indignant motorists. So, we determined to examine in with Alison Stewart, the director of advocacy and public coverage at Cycle Toronto to get the details about protected bike lanes and the impression on town.

Do protected bike lanes trigger extra visitors congestion?

No. Site visitors congestion is attributable to vehicular visitors. Transferring automobiles take up 14 instances the quantity of area of transferring bicycles.

Decreasing the variety of single automobile occupancy journeys is integral to lowering vehicular visitors, which can liberate roadways for public transit, emergency providers, and enterprise actions. The Metropolis of Toronto’s local weather plan, TransformTO Internet Zero, goals for 75% of all journeys 5 km or fewer to be made by energetic modes of transportation comparable to transit, strolling, or biking. The dearth of protected infrastructure is the most important barrier for folks to alter their commute mode to biking.

Protected bike lanes are one a part of a “Full Avenue,” which is a road that’s designed to be used by all highway customers. Implementing Full Streets helps this mode change by making our streets and roads safer for all by offering devoted area for all highway customers. Along with enhancing the protection of individuals travelling outdoors of automobiles, the devoted areas for all highway customers improves the predictability of individuals travelling in several modes and speeds. As we’ve seen in Toronto on Bloor Avenue West and the Danforth Avenue, the implementation of full streets results in elevated foot and bicycle visitors, leading to extra money spent, versus automobile drivers who’re searching for a thoroughfare to drive by means of an space.

Travelling by bike for distances of 5 km or fewer is the extra environment friendly and sooner option to get round. The expansion in ridership of Bike Share Toronto demonstrates the latent demand for biking. They’ve discovered that when somebody tries Bike Share, they proceed to come back again.

Do cyclists break extra visitors legal guidelines and guidelines of the highway than car drivers?

No. The place there are folks, there are issues. Most highway customers don’t obey the foundations of the highway all the time.

That mentioned, the visitors legal guidelines that govern our streets had been designed for automobiles. The damaging and distracted behaviour of drivers is the predominant reason for collisions that impression pedestrians and cyclists most. Between 2006 and 2022, 3,059 pedestrians had been hit by motor autos versus 18 hit by bicycles. 512 pedestrians had been killed by autos in these incidents.

Do cyclists have the correct to say extra highway area than the instant one-metre portion to the correct?

Sure. If the circumstances require it, cyclists can take the lane fully.

In line with the Ontario’s Freeway Site visitors Act:

“Any automobile travelling upon a roadway at lower than the traditional velocity of visitors at any time and place shall, the place practicable, be pushed within the right-hand lane then obtainable for visitors or as shut as practicable to the right-hand curb or fringe of the roadway.”

Does town of Toronto have extra protected bike lanes than vital?

No. Simply 4% of Toronto’s streets and roads have some type of biking infrastructure, and the majority of which is within the core. Increasing town’s related biking community throughout town is integral to town attaining each TransformTO and the Imaginative and prescient Zero Highway Security plan, in addition to addressing transportation inequalities.

Does town of Toronto have extra protected bike lanes than comparable cities?

Town has accomplished a superb job over the previous a number of years enjoying catch as much as comparable North American cities like Montreal, Vancouver, and New York. Toronto has more and more embraced insurance policies that assist energetic modes of transportation like strolling, biking and taking public transit. The persevering with enlargement of town’s biking community, alongside applications like ActiveTO, CafeTO, and RapidTO, has been profitable at making town’s streets extra pleasurable and accessible for all.

There stays a lot work to do for Toronto to grow to be the protected and equitable metropolis its residents deserve.

Would extra folks take up biking for transportation if protected bike lanes had been moved off main streets and onto facet streets?

No. Like automobile drivers, cyclists need direct and handy routes to journey to the place they dwell, work, store, and socialize.

The place are protected bike lanes wanted most in Toronto?

The huge areas outdoors of Toronto’s downtown core are desperately in want of full streets and guarded bike lanes. The residents of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough deserve protected infrastructure and higher, extra accessible transportation choices. Offering a related biking community will assist bridge the lengthy distances that many face whereas travelling to transit hubs. Bike Share Toronto’s four-year enlargement plan, which incorporates a rise in stations within the inside suburbs, helps this want.

In line with Toronto Public Well being, town’s 7 of the highest 10 causes of demise – coronary heart illness, lung most cancers, cerebrovascular ailments, diabetes, colon most cancers, respiratory illness, and breast most cancers – may very well be curbed by bodily exercise. Energetic transportation comparable to strolling, strolling to transit, or commuting by bike is the best option to incorporate bodily exercise into one’s each day routine.