Biking in Toronto Traffic

Report: Toronto Not So Bike Friendly


The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation is releasing a study today that highlights Toronto's deficiencies in bike-friendliness. Toronto ranks 7th of 11 cities studied in bike lane distance, with both Vancouver and Montreal finishing ahead of our fair city.

Toronto has 214 km of bike lanes to Montreal's 180 km and Vancouver's 106 km, but as a proportion of land mass, the order is reversed. The study also examined cycling budgets for cities. Although doubled to nearly $6 million this year, Toronto is still spending just $2.36 per person, which compared to $16.67 per person in London or $4.09 in New York illustrates how much Toronto is lagging behind.

The study does not specifically address the bike-friendliness of drivers, but as a bike shop employee told my wife during a recent bike purchase, "Here, the cars actually aim for cyclists."

Discussion has already begun in the comments of today's Morning Brew, where some people passionate about their cycling have weighed in. Commenter Cyclist thinks the report introduces useful benchmarks, but isn't saying Toronto is unfriendly to bicyclers. Others feel this puts numbers to a real problem in our city.

Regardless, Toronto does have a bike plan, but it has mostly not materialized. The most recent newsletter is from June 2007, and the reported 2007 progress was limited to less than 6 km of new bike lanes. They also announced four new positions, but six years into a ten year plan, it's hard to imagine Toronto will achieve its goals by the 2011 target.

There are some great bike trails in Toronto, and 208 km of bike lanes is a good start. But the trails are continually stopping and starting and drivers are not paying enough attention, as this flickr photoset demonstrates.

If you have a minute (literally), check out this awareness test.

Photo by, left to right, blogTO flickr poolers gabi~ and andy's camera.


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