snow bike lanes toronto

People in Toronto are dangerously dumping snow in bike lanes

Residents of Toronto awoke to a snow-blanketed city this morning, resulting in some rocky conditions for anyone travelling through the city by foot, bike or car. 

Environment Canada even issued a weather advisory for Toronto early Wednesday, warning that travel could be hazardous for several hours thanks to rapidly accumulating snow, slippery conditions and reduced visibility.

Roughly two to five centimetres of snow was expected to fall, and now it seems at least some of that snow has landed — or been pushed — into the city's bike lanes. 

Each year, when the winter season begins, hardcore cyclists do their best to continue biking despite the conditions, though that's often made difficult by the city's tendency to take their time clearing bike lanes

Not to mention the fact that the majority of downtown Toronto sidewalks do not get plowed by city crews at all and are instead left to be cleared by business owners and individuals who sometimes don't know where to dispose of the snow, and it often ends up being dumped onto bike lanes as a result.

This morning, for example, one Toronto resident posted a video on Twitter of two people shovelling snow off a sidewalk and dumping it in the nearby bike lane. 

"@311Toronto shoveling snow into the bike lane is wrong, right?" wrote the Twitter user. "That's what's happening at 120 Bloor St E."

Fortunately, 311 Toronto promptly responded saying the incident had been reported to Right of Way for bylaw enforcement. 

And according to city spokesperson Eric Holmes, dumping snow in a bike lane is actually illegal. 

"It is dangerous and illegal to push snow and ice onto roads or into bikeways," said Holmes. 

And yet, it happens every year. 

On the bright side, the city is currently working on an improved snow clearing plan that will see more downtown streets and bike lanes properly plowed by city crews instead of individuals — something that will hopefully help prevent people from dangerously pushing the frozen white stuff into bike lanes and putting cyclists in harm's way.

But until the improvements have been implemented, anyone that witnesses piles of snow being dumped into the lane where cyclists travel should report it.

"Anyone who witnesses a resident, business owner or contractor pushing snow onto the road or into a bikeway can contact 311 and request a bylaw officer be dispatched," said Holmes, "just as the resident in the tweet has done."

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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