The battle for cyclist space in downtown Toronto

Toronto is the type of metropolitan hotbed that boasts many modes of transportation to zip around town. When the weather is nice – and even when it’s not, Torontonians still take to their bicycles to get them from point A to B. With the massive influx of people, there is a perennial battle for space between cyclists and cars – and cyclists are forced into downtown traffic by cars parking to the side of the road all the time.

It’s the kind of frustration that will be more rare if the city starts sending offending drivers tickets in the mail. Potentially, a new power granted by the province to mail them rather than have to affix them to the car would speed things up and get more tickets written.

Cabs are legally allowed to enter a regular marked bike lane only to pick up or drop off passengers. Only cabs on contract for TTC’s Wheel Trans are allowed to enter a protected “cycle track” for that purpose.

Opened as a pilot project in 2014 and extended after the city reported a boom in cyclist use and reduction in car commute times, the small network of separated lanes in Toronto’s core has been heralded by city hall and cycling advocates as a commuting success that helps cut gridlock and greenhouse gas emissions.  

Changes to how ticketing is done could help parking enforcement issue more $150 fines and infuse the bylaw infraction with the same stigma as texting and driving. At the end of the day, cyclists and drivers need to coexist in harmony and share the city streets.

If you’re a cyclist who has been in an accident as a result of a negligent driver, contact the personal injury lawyers at Harris Law at 519-725-8000 for a free, one-hour consultation.

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