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General cycling issues (Is Toronto bike friendly?)

muller877

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Aren't bicycles considered vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act? Therefore, they belong on the actual traffic lanes, unless there are signs that say otherwise. Have you seen how much litter, debris, potholes, erosion, or even disappearance there is on highway shoulders?
The judge in the US determined she was NOT permitted to be there. The laws in Canada are similar (but not the same) so I don't know how they would be interpreted.

She was on a vehicle and, just like any vehicle was required by law to either (1) drive at or near the speed limit to minimize the risk of collisions or (2) be as far to the right as safely possible (sounds to me like the law is common sense). The police and judge both decided that the shoulder was safe for the bike to ride in and that is where she has to be or else it is a crime.

The same law applies to all vehicles. I've seen Amish with horse and buggies, tractors going to the next field and broken down clunkers all using the shoulder. It just takes a few bikers like this women to make drivers annoyed at all bikers.

In Canada I'm not sure if it is law or not but the guidance is that bikes should be as far right as possible and a rule of thumb is the first 3 feet. That doesn't mean you should be exactly 3 feet from the curb but a maximum of 3 feet...on average about 18 inches. It would be interesting to read the law (not the drivers handbook...the actual law) to see how Ontario would treat this biker.
 

muller877

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In Canada I'm not sure if it is law or not but the guidance is that bikes should be as far right as possible and a rule of thumb is the first 3 feet. That doesn't mean you should be exactly 3 feet from the curb but a maximum of 3 feet...on average about 18 inches. It would be interesting to read the law (not the drivers handbook...the actual law) to see how Ontario would treat this biker.
Answered my own question....The HTA has rules for vehicles which includes bikes...

147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).

(so as close to the edge as possible...I question what "edge of the roadway" means....does that include the shoulder?)

(2) Every person in charge of a vehicle or on horseback on a highway who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the overtaking vehicle or equestrian to pass. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (2).

(if there are a bunch of cars trying to get by a bike, the bike has to pull over and let them pass. Basically if there is no room to pass the bike, the bike has to pull over)

(4) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person travelling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (4).

(duh! It does mean in the youtube clip both parties were at fault...the bike and the cars)

(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).

(similar rule as subsection (2) but confirms that a bike is included)
 

nfitz

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I understand that on principle she has every right to be there but the shoulder looks useable and in my position I wouldn't be riding where she was.
Looking at the photo in the article I referred to - http://urbanvelo.org/cyclist-found-guilty-for-riding-in-street/
View attachment 34694
there appears to be a rumble strip in the narrow shoulder that makes it unusable for a bicycle. Even if it isn't there, the shoulders are seldom swept, and have rocks and other hazards that makes it unsafe to be there.

In Canada I'm not sure if it is law or not but the guidance is that bikes should be as far right as possible and a rule of thumb is the first 3 feet. That doesn't mean you should be exactly 3 feet from the curb but a maximum of 3 feet...on average about 18 inches.
What is your source for this? The Toronto Police Service's bicycle safety page http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/crimeprevention/bicyclesafety.php clearly says: "Ride about 1 metre from the curb". That would be about 3.3 feet from the curb.

Why are you saying that one should be a maximum of 90 cm from the curb, and average 45 cm, when the police say about 1 metre? Not average 1 metre, but about 1 metre. Why are you advocating that bikes be only 45 cm from the curb when the police advocate otherwise?
 

justicewhite

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After having cycle many thousands of miles on the road, my main advice to any cyclist is to protect yourself first. I've seen so many extremely angry drivers shouting abuse out of their window that it is not worth taking the chance. It doesn't matter who is in the right when you lose an arm or a leg in a stupid accident unfortunately.
 

BurlOak

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Answered my own question....The HTA has rules for vehicles which includes bikes...

147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).

(so as close to the edge as possible...I question what "edge of the roadway" means....does that include the shoulder?)
Check the definitions. The shoulder does not count as part of the roadway.

There is also another location

Regulating or prohibiting use of highway by pedestrians, etc.
185. (1) The Minister may make regulations prohibiting or regulating the use of any highway or part thereof by pedestrians or animals or any class or classes of vehicles. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 185 (1).

Prohibiting motor assisted bicycles, etc., on municipal highways
(2) The council of a municipality may by by-law prohibit pedestrians or the use of motor assisted bicycles, bicycles, wheelchairs or animals on any highway or portion of a highway under its jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 185 (2).
 

nfitz

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After having cycle many thousands of miles on the road, my main advice to any cyclist is to protect yourself first.
I 100% agree. Which is sadly why I don't cycle in Toronto. The combination of bike riders who completely break all the rules, and the car drivers, who don't even seem to understand that they have to share the road with bikes, has lead to my conclusion that I'll likely live longer by walking and taking transit.
 

salsa

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The new Harbord/Hoskin bike lanes are under construction. Here are some updates from twitter by @TO_Cycling




This section is near Ossington. However am I the only one who thinks that this is hardly an improvement over the existing situation? Note that originally we were supposed to get bi-directional separated bike lanes, but now we're only getting buffered bike lanes with no separation. Toronto has once again proven that it really doesn't know how to do bike lanes. Expect cars to be encroaching on it on day one.



Here's the current plan:





Queens Park Circle now has a curb-separated, bi-directional cycle track between Wellesley and Hoskin.





Queens Park-Hoskins has been reconfigured into a T intersection. The turn channel and islands were removed.






In about two weeks, the reconfigured intersection will include new signals and a dedicated bike/ped phase.

 

cassius

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The Toronto Police Service's bicycle safety page http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/crimeprevention/bicyclesafety.php clearly says: "Ride about 1 metre from the curb". That would be about 3.3 feet from the curb.
I generally do about 2 meters. 1 meter is barely enough with pedestrians randomly stepping onto the road (my route is Queen St) and the safety issue of bumpy roads along the outer edges. But that's totally dependent upon the situation and a wide variety of factors. My rule is minimize swerving, be consistent, stop at lights/stop signs, and most importantly respect drivers and be in their way as little as possible, and in return I've gotten plenty of respect back from them.
 

W. K. Lis

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From this PDF on Traffic Lane Width of 3.0 m in Urban Environments at this link:

That said, the standard practice in North America, and more specifically in Canada, is to use the maximum widths recommended by the relevant reference guides. That is especially the case for arterial and municipal collector streets, where posted speed limits are generally 60 km/h and under. These lane widths typically vary from 3.5 m to 3.7 m (or wider), and are similar to the widths recommended by U.S and Canadian design guides for highways and expressways (3.6 m to 3.7 m [approximately12 ft]). Adopting a municipal norm that would establish the default traffic lane width at 3.0 m would reduce the width of traffic lanes on local, collector and arterial streets in urban environments (cities, suburbs and village centres), which are not designed to handle significant volumes of motorized traffic driving at high speeds.
Having bicycles ride 1m from the right edge, would put the left handles at about the center of a lane.
 

gweed123

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Was driving down Churchill Ave in Ottawa this afternoon, and I noticed the streetscape reconfiguration that is nearly completed. Prior to this, Churchill was a 4 lane urban arterial, much like many of the main roads in the old city of Toronto. The reconfiguration has turned it into a 2 lane road plus an on-street parking lane. The interesting thing though is the way that they've done the bike lanes. Rather than being on the roadway itself, the bike lanes are raised and act in effect as a buffer between the sidewalk and the street. This is advantageous because it means trucks or cars can't park in the bike lanes, and during the winter when bike ridership is very low those spots can be used to pile snow.

Just thought I'd share an interesting implementation.

IMG_3336.jpg
 

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W. K. Lis

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On the suburban arterial roads, they have an extra-wide right-of-ways. They thought that in the "future", the roads would be widened from two lanes in each direction to three lanes in each direction. Sometimes they added a continuous left turn lane. You can see the "third" lane under railways or over bridges. The boulevard usually is wide enough for adding bicycle lanes AND somewhere to dump the snow windrows. Putting in raised bicycle lanes on the suburban arterial roads should be an easy project to do, but it would be considered "gravy" by politicians who still think "roads are for cars".
 

reaperexpress

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Was driving down Churchill Ave in Ottawa this afternoon, and I noticed the streetscape reconfiguration that is nearly completed. Prior to this, Churchill was a 4 lane urban arterial, much like many of the main roads in the old city of Toronto. The reconfiguration has turned it into a 2 lane road plus an on-street parking lane. The interesting thing though is the way that they've done the bike lanes. Rather than being on the roadway itself, the bike lanes are raised and act in effect as a buffer between the sidewalk and the street. This is advantageous because it means trucks or cars can't park in the bike lanes, and during the winter when bike ridership is very low those spots can be used to pile snow.
Thanks for pointing this out! I had no idea that this was happening. I remember reading something about Churchill in SpacingOttawa a few years ago, but hadn't heard since.

I'm a bit concerned about winter clearance of the bike lanes, but overall it's great that they're bucking the status quo. Reading the project website, it sounds like they needed specific approval from the MTO to use crossride markings at signalized intersections. Which is strange because they're used all over the place in the GTA.

They definitely shouldn't be piling snow on the bike lanes. Winter is when separated infrastructure is needed most! Looking at the plans, there seems to be enough space to pile snow between the travel lanes and bike lanes wherever there isn't parking in that space.

On the suburban arterial roads, they have an extra-wide right-of-ways. They thought that in the "future", the roads would be widened from two lanes in each direction to three lanes in each direction. Sometimes they added a continuous left turn lane. You can see the "third" lane under railways or over bridges. The boulevard usually is wide enough for adding bicycle lanes AND somewhere to dump the snow windrows. Putting in raised bicycle lanes on the suburban arterial roads should be an easy project to do, but it would be considered "gravy" by politicians who still think "roads are for cars".
Roads like those are for cars, which is exactly why we need bicycle infrastructure that is separate from the main roadway. It's worth pointing out to people that separated lanes make things better for people driving as well as cycling.
 
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Silence&Motion

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(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).
I friggin hate having to always pull my bike over to let those snooty equestrians pass.
 

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