toronto cyclist riding on the sidewalk

What are Toronto cyclists' worst habits?

Toronto's bike riders are a polarizing bunch. On the one hand, most are commuters who by simply not taking a car to work are helping ease traffic on city streets. On the other, some are inexperienced road users without the confidence (and sometimes the knowledge) to properly share the street. Everyone has horror stories - you just have to ask.

Earlier today, we did just that. We had our Twitter followers tell us the worst habits of Toronto's cyclists. As you'd expect, there was a big response. Stories of bikers running red lights, riding on the sidewalk, cruising past open streetcar doors, and using the wrong side of the street abound.

Personally, I would argue that despite the odd bad apple, Toronto cyclists are pretty good about sharing the road. Life on the blacktop is very different without airbags, side impact bars, and crumple zones, and those afraid of mixing it with traffic often resort to making up their own rules to feel safe. Naturally, the bad riders stand out more than the good ones.

In the interest of education, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has a quick break-down of the road rules as they apply to cyclists. Hand signals and other safety tips are covered in this guide. It's also worth noting that cyclists have the right to use the whole road, though it's good courtesy to keep right if it's safe to do so.

Feel free to add your bad habit suggestions to the comment thread below, but why not tell us how the big issues can be remedied. There are some gray areas too: is carefully proceeding through a red light in the curb lane when there's no road on the right - as on Bloor at Bedford and the Danforth at Donlands - and clearly no traffic okay? Should Idaho stops become official Toronto bike policy? Tell us what you think.

Photo: "So Hip It Hurts" by Jay Morrison in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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