The 10 worst roads for cycling in Toronto
The worst roads for cycling in Toronto are slowly being phased out or improved over time. But our streets are far from perfect for cyclists, and there are still routes that are best avoided in the interest of safety or speed.
Here are my picks for the worst roads for cycling in Toronto.
A drawn out revamp of the street from 2009 to 2011 was supposed to make it better for cyclists, but the installation of bump-outs at the various streetcar stops can make for treacherous pedestrian/cyclist interactions. There's also sand accumulations in the areas south of the bump-outs on the west side that get hairy. Throw in car doors, and you have a tricky street to ride.
The two obstacles for cyclists on Queen Street (both east and west) are obvious: streetcar tracks and parked cars. Ever seen someone avoid being doored only to get their wheel stuck in a streetcar track? I have. It ain't pretty. The stretch between University and Bathurst is particularly dicey.
St. Clair Avenue West
With the addition of the streetcar ROW a half decade ago, the remaining road on St. Clair Ave. West got tight for everyone else. The area around Vaughan Rd. doesn't really allow drivers to give cyclists a wide berth (even if they wanted to), and parked cars along much of the route must be watched very carefully.
No surprises here. It can be exhilarating to ride down Yonge St. in traffic, but it's not for the faint of heart. Cars jockey for position, pedestrians randomly cross the street, and delivery vehicles often pose as obstacles on the city's main artery.
In five years, Eglinton Avenue might be one of the best streets for cyclists in the city as urban designers realize the "Eglinton Connects" vision. Until then, it's a construction nightmare as the Crosstown LRT is built both below and above ground. Avoid this one if you can.
Perhaps it's the ghost of the former bike lanes here, but Jarvis is no longer kind to cyclists. Not only is it a busy corridor during the morning and afternoon rush, but the lower number of cyclists on the street post-bike lane has reduced visibility and the speed of traffic can be intimidating for novice riders.
The southern portion of Bayview Avenue could be a dream cycling route down to the Brick Works, but instead it's a pot hole and gravel-strewn mess. It's also hard to navigate past the on and off ramps to the DVP. Turning the shoulders into usable bike lanes here would be a very good idea.
King Street is tough thanks to general congestion downtown. With streetcars, vehicles and cyclists all competing for road space, sometimes it can feel very tight between Bathurst and Sherbourne streets. The preponderance of cabs erratically chasing down fares doesn't help the situation.
The bridge over the Don Valley feels every bit like a highway, so avoid this at all costs (take the Queen St. bridge just to the north), but even if you've avoided this section the rest of the street is disappointing because despite generally low traffic, the road surface condition is just brutal.
Parliament isn't a particularly dangerous road for cyclists, though you do have to be aware of car doors on the stretch of the street north of Carlton. The big pain here is the log-jam of traffic lights on the lower section of the street that impede flow and slow down your trip. Also beware when crossing the streetcar tracks at Queen, Dundas, and Carlton.
Did I miss a particularly bad street for cycling in Toronto? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Philip Johnson in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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