toronto unsafe cycling

Most people think Toronto's roads are unsafe for cycling

Cycling has never been known as a particularly safe way of getting around the city — not in Toronto, or anywhere else where cars mix with bikes on busy downtown streets.

Never before, though, has riding a bike felt so dangerous here.

Some of this can be blamed on construction, some of it on rising population density, and much of it on a recent rash of news coverage about cyclists and pedestrians being killed by motorists. 

Toronto City Council approved an additional $22 million in spending on road safety measures late last month amidst pressure from public figures, community groups and citizens who were distraught to learn that 93 people had died on Toronto's roads in the first two years of Mayor John Tory's "Vision Zero" plan.

A victory for advocates, to be sure — but new data from the Canadian polling firm Forum Research shows that only about a third of Toronto voters even know what the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is.

Still, regardless of what they know about Vision Zero, the issue of road safety in general appears to be top of mind in North America's fourth-largest city.

Six out of every 10 of the 2521 Toronto voters polled by Forum Research in late June indicated that "Toronto roads are not safe for cyclists."

"Respondents most likely to say roads are not safe for Toronto cyclists include females (63%), with a post-graduate degree (66%), and living in the former city of Toronto (65%), East York (64%), or York (63%)," reads a release announcing the poll's results.  

"Respondents most likely to say Toronto roads are safe for cyclists include those aged 55-64 (47%), males (44%), the least wealthy (46%), the least educated (42%) or with some college/university (45%), and living in North York (43%) or Etobicoke (46%)."

Among the roughly 32 per cent of those surveyed who know what Vision Zero is, more than half said it "does not do enough to protect non-drivers on Toronto streets."

And while 32 per cent may seem low, analysts say that awareness of the plan (which aims to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto's streets by 2021) is up a full thirteen points since 2017.

Only 19 per cent of those polled in a random sampling of public opinion said they were aware of Vision Zero last year. Hopefully awareness continues to go up as more funds are invested into keeping Toronto safe.

Lead photo by

Lisa Power


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