The problem with bike lanes in Toronto is that they are nothing more than paint on the road. Although this paint may give the impression of an actual lane reserved for cyclists, it often ends up getting used for other purposes, like parking your car. Take, for example, this picture from a Toronto Star article about a newly painted bike lane in which sits a parked car.
For more photographic evidence of this phenomenon take a look at MyBikeLane.com.
More than an inconvenience-to-cyclists issue, bike lanes that are mere paint on the road do not provide a safe space for cyclists to ride. Unlike the picture above, many of the bike lanes in Toronto are on busy main streets where there are lots of cars going at fast speeds. Anyone who has ridden on these lanes – take College St. for example – knows well the fight for space and the vigilance with which you have to ride.
What Toronto needs is physically separated bike lanes. Take a look at this great video on physically separated bike lanes, primarily set in NYC.
For more videos like this one, check out the excellent site I recently discovered: Streetfilms.