The idea behind Cycle Toronto is to push for better cycling infrastructure in Toronto. I spent four months living in Copenhagen last autumn, and the cycling infrastructure was just amazing. The basic premise underlying their bike lane system is physically separated lanes. The idea is that with safe space for cyclists, more people will choose to use their bikes for daily commuting. According to the Copenhagen Bicycle Account 2008, 37% of people in Copenhagen (including residents of surrounding suburbs) cycle to work or education every day. Restricting this to just residents of Copenhagen, the statistic jumps to 55%. Brilliant!
There are many ways to build physically separated bike lanes. Here is a basic diagram to illustrate the idea:
Check out this Streetfilms video about cycling in Copenhagen:
In the midst of my Danish cycling exuberance, I put together a small proposal for physically separated bike lanes called “Cycle Toronto” which I sent in to my Toronto city councillor. The hope was to make use of cycling infrastructure in Copenhagen as a model for Toronto. (More on this to come in future posts)
Just a few days ago I received a refreshing article about physically separated bike lanes in Toronto. Our current lanes were described as “a strip of paint at the side of the road”. Some good news: the article reports that the Toronto Cycling Committee (at City Hall) has endorsed physically separated bike lanes as the preferred design for the upcoming reconstruction of Sherbourne Street. It must now go through the city planning department and be approved by Council. The adoption of a physically separated bike lane would be precedent setting in Toronto, and may very well lead the future development of our cycling infrastructure.