The City has a network of designated cycling routes for cycling to neighbourhoods and destinations across the City. The cycling network includes many types of infrastructure, such as Cycle Tracks, bicycle lanes, shared roadway routes and multi-use pathways. Toronto’s cycling routes are for both commuter and recreational cycling.

The City uses different infrastructure and separation for its on-street cycling infrastructure depending on the nature and use of the road.

Richmond St W Cycle Track

Cycle tracks are separate lanes for bicycles that are adjacent to the roadway, but separated from vehicular traffic. Cycle tracks help distinguish the area for cycling from motor vehicle traffic (more than a painted bicycle lane). The tracks create an environment which is safer for cycling.

 

 

Sherbourne Cycle Track looking southThe diamond marking in cycle tracks is the symbol for a “reserved lane.” Every lane with a diamond in it has accompanying lane restriction by-laws.

Painted bike lane on Bay St north of Dundas St W

Designated bicycle lanes are a dedicated part of the roadway for the exclusive use of cyclists. Other road users may not lawfully drive, stand, stop or park in a designated bicycle lane.

The diamond marking in bicycle lanes is the symbol for a “reserved lane.” Every lane with a diamond in it has accompanying lane restriction bylaws

Contraflow lane along Simcoe StContraflow bicycle lanes allow cyclists to travel in two directions on a street, which is one-way for all other vehicles. Cyclists travel in one direction in the designated bicycle lane. When travelling in the opposite direction, the cyclist will travel in the mixed-use traffic lane.

Making a street dual direction for cyclists using this kind of bicycle lane
can create valuable neighbourhood connections for cyclists who wish to avoid busy arterial roadways.

Trail projects play an important role in connecting and expanding Toronto’s cycling network. Within this network, each trail, park, bicycle lane or other component has a particular role to play. As a result, each trail needs to have certain characteristics to ensure that it can perform appropriately. Three classes of trails are identified by their role in the network.

Secondary

  • Local connections.
  • Feeder or tributary routes.

Primary

  • Connects different parts of the city.
  • Collects traffic from secondary trails.
  • Connects with other primary trails.

High-Capacity

  • May perform any or all of the functions of primary and/or secondary trails.
  • Collects traffic from primary and secondary trails.
  • Trail may be a destination or attraction itself.

Toronto is developing a number of “Quiet Street” cycling routes, where signs, pavement markings, and traffic calming are used to create comfortable cycling routes on quieter residential streets.

Traffic calming is a key part of developing cycling routes which have sections where motor vehicles share the road with cyclists.  A universal 30 km/h speed limit is planned for all of Toronto’s “Quiet Street” type cycling routes.

Share Lane Markings, or “Sharrows” are road markings used to indicate a shared environment for bicycles and motor vehicles. The shared lane markings highlight cycling routes alerting all road users to the presence of bicycle traffic on the street, and may also be configured to offer directional and wayfinding guidance for cyclists.  The shared lane marking is not a dedicated cycling facility, but a pavement marking which has a variety of uses to support a complete bikeway network.

  • For safety reasons, cyclists should ride one metre from the curb to avoid debris and sewer grates.
  • In lanes that are too narrow for cyclists and motorists to travel side-by-side, cyclists should ride in the centre of the lane to discourage motorists from passing too closely.
  • Where there is on-street parking, cyclists should ride one metre from parked cars to avoid the “door zone.”

Although it is the motorist’s and/or passenger’s responsibility to look first before opening their door, riding too close to parked cars can lead to serious injuries that can be avoided.

Sharrows are also used through intersections and some merge zones to support straight-line cycling and to increase the visibility of cyclists.

The cost of a cycling route will vary from street to street.
For quiet street routes, the cost per kilometer will range between $14,000-75,000.

For fast busy street routes, either painted bicycle lanes or Cycle Tracks (separated bicycle lanes) are preferred.  To paint bicycle lanes on an existing road, the cost will typically be $40,000-50,000 per km.

To implement separated bike lanes the approximate cost is $180,000 per km where installed through a retrofit with bollards and planters, with costs escalating up to $1,000,000 per km for the construction of curb separated cycle track.