toronto motorcycle

Toronto could soon become a lot more motorcycle friendly

Toronto City Council has approved a motion to explore the idea of "lane filtering" for motorcycles in Toronto — a practice that experts say could dramatically improve the safety of people on bikes.

Lane filtering, not to be confused with lane splitting, allows motorcycles to move between stopped vehicles at an intersection.

The idea is that riders can make their way up to the front of the line and take off before cars do, minimizing the risk of rear-end collisions and improving the overall flow of traffic.

"Unlike bicycles, motorcycles are currently not afforded dedicated or separated road infrastructure, making them particularly vulnerable in the event of a collision," reads a member motion submitted to City Council last month.

"According to a 2015 study conducted in California, motorcyclists who are able to filter between traffic were 'markedly less likely to suffer head injury (9 percent vs. 17 percent), torso injury (19 percent vs. 29 percent) or fatal injury (1.2 percent vs. 3 percent)."

That motion, submitted by Councillor Anthony Perruzza, calls upon the city to consider a pilot project that would allow motorcycles to filter between stopped vehicles along Richmond Street and Adelaide Street.

Peruzza also asked that city staffers be authorized to compile a report on expanding the number of dedicated motorcycle parking zones, as well as letting motorcycle drivers use lanes designated for buses and taxis on both Bay Street and the DVP.

All three of these proposals were developed in partnership with the Rider Training Institute — a national not-for-profit association that offers motorcycle licensing and training programs throughout Ontario.

While council voted a few weeks back in favour of allowing a committee to explore the idea, it's unlikely that filtering will be legal on Toronto streets for the rest of this season.

The committee is expected to present their findings to City Council later this year. If the pilot is approved then, Perruzza says it would likely begin "sometime next year at the earliest."

Lead photo by

Mondo Lulu


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