cycling Toronto construction

Toronto cyclists fear for their lives in messy construction zones

Biking to work in Toronto is awesome, unless you get killed in the process — and that's not a joke: it happens all the time.

Spring is now in full swing, bringing both cyclists and construction crews out into the streets en masse for the first time since October.

As is usually the case, conflicts have emerged in the few short weeks since most people started cycling and jackhammering again. As a result, construction-related danger is high on the list of concerns for many.

Some of Toronto's busiest bike paths feel significantly more dangerous than usual this year

Richmond Street just east of Peter is a mess, for example, with motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike forced to compete with each other to get past cement trucks during rush hour.

The same bike path is similarly scary coming up to the intersection at Richmond and Bathurst where, once again, no clear paths are marked and construction blockades push all commuters into one narrow lane.

Another incredibly busy east-west bike lane — the one on Adelaide — is even sketchier between Duncan and Simcoe streets, where cyclists are forced to cross over an unused streetcar track to balance on a narrow strip next to construction fencing before crossing back into a real bike lane.

Turning north on Simcoe from there brings cyclists face-to-face with a bike path that's been split into two lanes — one side for bikes, one for pedestrians — leaving both sides so narrow that a simple slip would spell disaster.

Construction has been going on for some time in this area and has only gotten worse since fall.

On Bloor Street obstructions are abound, too many (in my opinion) to feel safe for some, and way worse than it was last year.

Whether it be for hydro work, infrastructure improvements or condo development (who am I kidding? It's always for condos), construction is taking up a lot of bike lane space in Toronto this spring — and few if any crews appear to be getting dinged for rule violations.

It's fun and it's freeing and it's cheaper than public transit, but commuting by bike in Toronto has become somewhat of a gamble on some routes right now.

"Cycling on Toronto streets is outright dangerous if not suicidal," wrote one person on Twitter last week. "You got potholes, streetcar tracks, motorists opening their car door without looking. The hassles and risks are simply too great."

"I broke my wrist cycling in May 2016 when construction pylons blocked the edge of the road," wrote another. "They were out of view until I turned, forced me into car lane and my wheel slid in the metal streetcar tracks."

"Toronto construction season is stupid dangerous."

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil

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