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What to do when a car is blocking your bike lane

I was out for a bike ride last night and, on my way home, I decided to try out the new dedicated bike lane on Adelaide Street. Usually I would take King Street, but it was completely full because of Caribana parties.

For those of you who may not be aware, the city of Toronto is currently piloting two dedicated bike lanes on Adelaide Street and Richmond Street in the downtown core. Both streets are one-way and because the lanes were so big to begin with (highway-like spacing), I’m told that these new bike lanes didn’t even eat up a driving lane.

Here’s a map of the pilot area:

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Given that dedicated bike lanes are a scarce resource here in Toronto, I have to say that it was rather luxurious having my own piece of road. And because there’s no longer any fear of parked car doors swinging open, I was able to ride a lot faster than I normally would. 

But as my friend Evgeny pointed out earlier this week, there’s a big difference between dedicated and grade separated bike lanes. Indeed, on my trip from Bathurst Street to Church Street last night, I encountered 3 cars parked in my lane.

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So, I hope that these bike lanes become a permanent fixture downtown, but that the city makes them grade-separated. I’m sure people will use them. At the same time, I think they could also act as a catalyst for more pedestrian life along both of these streets.

If you haven’t yet tried them out, I would encourage you to do so. The city is tracking usage and so you would be supporting the cause. And if there’s anybody parked in your lane, below is one way to handle it. It’s a video by Casey Neistat out of New York. If you can’t see it below, click here.

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