The City is running a Bicycle Safety Campaign that aims to help educate both drivers and cyclists on how to properly use bike boxes, shared lanes and how to make right turns across bike lanes.

 

Toronto has a cycling network comprising of a range of different infrastructure types. The infrastructure type varies by road classification and road width space. The City also maintains a network of multi-use trails.

The City’s cycling network map is a useful tool to plan routes and learn about the existing cycling infrastructure.

Chapter 886-15 of the Toronto Municipal Code of the outlines the operation, stopping, and exemptions for drivers relating to cycle tracks. No person shall operate or stop a vehicle other than a bicycle in any cycle except for the purpose of:

  • Moving into or leaving a private lane or driveway adjacent to the bicycle lane.
  • Loading or unloading of persons with a disability from a Wheel-Trans vehicle, operated by or under contract to TTC, while actively engaged in doing so.

Exemptions

  • Ambulances, police or fire service vehicles or any other vehicle actively engaged in responding to an emergency.
  • Vehicles actually and actively engaged in works undertaken for or on behalf of:
    • A public utility, including utilities providing telecommunications, energy, water supply or wastewater related services.

Chapter 886-10 of the Toronto Municipal Code outlines the operation, stopping, and exemptions for drivers relating to bicycle lanes. No person shall operate a vehicle other than a bicycle or power assisted bicycle in any bicycle lane except for the purpose of:

  • Moving into or leaving a private lane or driveway adjacent to the bicycle lane.
  • Making a right turn at a road intersecting the bicycle lane.
  • Entering or exiting a curb lane used for parking.
  • Loading or unloading of a person with a disability, while actively engaged in doing so.
  • Operating a school bus while actively engaged in picking up or dropping off school children.
  • Operating a taxicab while actively engaged in loading or unloading of passengers.

Exemptions

  • Ambulances, police or fire service vehicles or any other vehicle actively engaged in responding to an emergency.
  • Vehicles actually and actively engaged in works undertaken for or on behalf of:
    • The City, The TTC, or a public transit agency authorized to operate in the City.
    • A public utility, including utilities providing telecommunications, energy, water supply or wastewater related services.

Sign indicating vehicles to yield to cyclists in the lane
In cycle tracks where the lane extends to the intersection, cyclists have the right of way. Vehicles must not enter the bicycle lane until it is clear of cyclists.
Hashed out painted bike lane. Indicating a right turn space for vehicles.
Painted bike lanes or cycle tracks that have a dotted line leading to the intersection allow drivers to enter the lane when safe. Cyclists must then pass the turning vehicle on the left or wait behind the vehicle until the lane is clear.

Bicycle signal at Hoskin and Queens Park Cres
A bicycle signal directs cyclists when it is safe to pass through an intersection. These can be used for intersections on trails or contraflow lanes where vehicles cannot drive, the transition between road to trail, or if bicycles cross the lane in a different manner then motor vehicles.
Bicycle signal sign up close
The bicycle signals are smaller then the usual yellow traffic signals and are black. They have a white sign attached notifying road users that is meant for cyclists.

Bicycles excepted sign. Noting that vehicles cannot go forward but there is a contraflow lane for cyclists.For a one-way street with a contraflow lane traveling in the opposite direction of motor traffic, the “bicycles excepted” sign is utilized. This identifies to motor vehicles that they cannot legally travel in the specified direction while allowing cyclists to use the designated contraflow facility.

Cycle track chevrons show cyclists and drivers the route cyclists should take through the intersectionChevron pavement markings indicate the route cyclists should take through the intersection. This increases drivers awareness of cyclists and makes cyclists travel more predictable at intersections.

Bike box at St George and HarbordBike boxes are used at intersections to designate a space for cyclists to wait in front of cars at the red light. Cyclists may then proceed first when the light turns green. At red lights, the drivers must stop at the stop line, behind the bike box. A bike box means right hand turns on red lights are not permitted.

As a cyclist, you should position yourself at the right, left, or center of the bike box, depending on the direction you want to travel.

“Dooring” or a “door prize” commonly refers to someone who opens a parked motor vehicle door into the path of a cyclist or other traffic.

Higher set fine of $365 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees) + three (3) demerit points; drivers who choose to contest the charge could be subject to a fine up to $1,000 + three demerit points, upon conviction.

To Avoid “Dooring” drivers and passengers should utilize what is called a dutch reach. This involves opening the door with the arm further from the door. This action gives the user a better view of the lane behind them. Cyclists should give 1 meter clearance from parked cars where feasible and be aware of the “dooring zone”.

Cyclists waits 2 meters behind the streetcar doors before continuing forwardWhere a person in charge of a bicycle on a cycle track approaches a Toronto Transit Commission bus which is stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers, the person on a bicycle shall not pass the bus or approach nearer than 2 meters measured back from the rear or front entrance or exit, as the case may be, of the Toronto Transit Commission bus on the side on which passengers are getting on or off until the passengers have crossed the cycle track.

Toronto City Council has adopted a staff report recommendation that Toronto’s sidewalk cycling bylaw shall stipulate “no person age 14 and older may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk”. The fine for an adult who rides a bicycle on a sidewalk shall be $60.

What to teach young cyclists about cycling on the sidewalk

  • Always yield to pedestrians. Get off and walk your bike or put your foot down.
  • Ride slowly.
  • Always walk your bike through a crosswalk or crossover (Fines apply if not followed).
  • Use a bell or horn to let pedestrians know that you are there.
  • Make eye contact with drivers. Assume that drivers don’t see you.
  • Look for cars in driveways, laneways and at intersections and be prepared to stop.
  • Expect pedestrians to exit from stores.

To teach skills and give riders confidence in riding on the road, the City offers CAN-BIKE cycling courses for children and adults.

Green paint along the Richmond St cycle track increasing the visibility of the cycle trackGreen paint is used at intersections and driveways where vehicles interact with the cycling infrastructure. They serve to increase the visibility of the cycling infrastructure making drivers aware of cyclists.

When approaching a slower cyclists in a bike lane it is important to:

  • Use your bell to notify the cyclists of your presence
  • Shoulder check to ensure the route is clear on your left to make a pass
  • pass on the left leaving at least 1 meter clearance

If passing at a particular section is not safe (cycle track section is too narrow or busy live traffic lane) wait behind the cyclists until it is clear to overtake.