The City’s network of designated cycling routes are used by people to access neighbourhoods and destinations across Toronto. The cycling network includes many types of infrastructure, such as cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, shared roadway routes and multi-use pathways. The City uses different infrastructure and separation for its on-street cycling infrastructure depending on the nature and use of the road.

Learn more about specific cycling projects in the City.

Richmond St W Cycle Track - a bicycle lane is separated from motor vehicle traffic by planters and bollards.

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 south - A raised bicycle lane includes a diamond, bicycle symbol and green paint to separate it from one lane of motor vehicle traffic.The 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

A person cycles in a cycle track on Hoskin Ave that is separated from motor vehicle traffic by parked cars and bollards. Some cycle tracks have spaces for vehicle parking beside the lane. When passengers and drivers are exiting their vehicles, they must first ensure the cycle track is clear. Pedestrians crossing the street must treat the cycle track as a live vehicle lane and wait until the lane is clear before crossing.

Painted bicycle lane on Bay St north of Dundas St W, which contains a diamond and bicycle symbol.

Designated bicycle lanes are a dedicated part of the roadway for the exclusive use of people cycling. 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.

Two cyclists traveling on Denison Ave. One heading south in the shared travel lane and one heading north in the contra-flow bicycle laneContra-flow bicycle lanes allow people cycling to travel in two directions on a street, which is one-way for all other vehicles. People must cycle in one direction in the designated bicycle lane. When travelling in the opposite direction, people will cycle in the mixed-use traffic lane or marked cycle lane.

Bicycle symbols and diamonds are located inside the contra-flow bicycle lane. The diamond symbol is the symbol for a “reserved” lane. Every lane with a diamond in it has accompanying lane restriction bylaws. The contra-flow bicycle lane will also include painted arrows, communicating that people must only cycle in one direction in this lane.

Making a street dual direction can create valuable neighbourhood connections for people cycling who wish to avoid busy arterial roadways.

People cycle and walk on the shared Martin Goodman multi-use trail through downtown.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.

Learn more about Toronto’s Multi-Use Trail Design Guidelines.

A shared marking on the road consists of a painted bicycle symbol and two arrows, indicating that people cycling must share the road with motorists.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, which alert all road users to the presence of bicycle traffic on the street, and may also be configured to offer directional and wayfinding guidance for people cycling.  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.

  • Drivers must wait behind a person on a bicycle until it is safe to pass with minimum one metre clearance.
  • For safety reasons, people cycling should ride one metre from the curb to avoid debris and sewer grates.
  • In lanes that are too narrow for people cycling and motorists to travel side-by-side, those cycling should ride in the centre of the lane to discourage motorists from passing too closely.
  • Where there is on-street parking, people cycling 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 people cycling.

Toronto is developing a number of “Quiet Street” cycling routes, where signs, pavement markings, and traffic calming measures 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 people cycling.  A universal 30 km/h speed limit is planned for all of Toronto’s “Quiet Street” type cycling routes.

Toronto is a cycling city and that is true more than ever, says a 2019 survey conducted on behalf of the City of Toronto. The survey found that seven in 10 Toronto residents are riding bicycles (70%) and, increasingly, they are using them for everyday trips. This is an increase in cycling rates compared to 54% in 2009 and 48% in 1999. The survey also shows that residents in all areas of the city reported cycling at higher rates than years past.

 

The 2019 survey also highlights the importance of the City’s investment in new bicycle infrastructure. Toronto residents are twice as likely to say they feel comfortable or somewhat comfortable on major roads with bike lanes/cycle tracks than those without. Respondents to the survey stated that they would like to travel by bike if streets felt safer and there was dedicated bicycle infrastructure to protect them from motor vehicle traffic.

Key Findings included:

  • The percentage of Toronto residents who report cycling continues to increase
  • The proportion of households that own at least one bicycle has slightly increased
  • Residents of all four districts report cycling at similar rates
  • Toronto residents are twice as likely to say they feel comfortable or somewhat comfortable with major roads with bike lanes/cycle tracks than without bike lanes/cycle tracks
  • Respondents were more likely to say they would like to travel by bike if the street felt safer and there was dedicated bike infrastructure to protect them from traffic

Nanos Research, a research and strategy organization, conducted an online survey of 1,516 Toronto residents, 18 years of age or older, between May 13th to 29th, 2019. The 2009 and 1999 surveys were completed by telephone with individuals aged 15 years or older who resided in the City of Toronto in August and October, respectively.

Dive into the data here: (1999, 2009, and 2019)