Toronto isn’t exactly the safest city for bike riders, who are often met with construction, limited bike lanes, and abuse from drivers.
While it is safe to say the city has done some work to promote safe cycling, there are still a number of areas across Toronto that are downright scary to bike through.
We’ve rounded up some of these intersections to help you take precautions if you happen to travel through them.
Bloor Street West and Symington Avenue
Thanks to ongoing construction in and around the West Toronto Railpath, bike lanes on this stretch of Bloor end abruptly; meaning cyclists will have to quickly merge into the traffic lane and bike in a single-file with vehicles.
To make matters worse, eleven riders traveling westbound do make it off this lane snare, they have to combat more construction past Dundas West, where bike lanes are often blocked by machinery or again, stop abruptly.
Bloor West from Dundas-Keele has a few of those abrupt bike lane closures right now – real mindf*ck having to go from a casual cruise in protected bike lanes to “now assert yourself by merging single-file into the middle of the road in front of that SUV doing 70”
— ℳatt (@matttomic) July 26, 2022
Avid cyclist Robert Zaichkowski tells blog TO that construction under and around the bridge has been happening for over two years now.
Davenport Road and Dufferin Street
Readers also flagged Davenport and Dufferin, along with Davenport and Lansdowne, as seriously dangerous for cyclists.
The huge hill on Dufferin (between St. Clair West and Davenport) is extremely steepwhich is not ideal for bikers, and we all know how busy the road gets during the rush-hour, especially with TTC buses on one of the city’s busiest routes.
Davenport and Dufferin, 4 both peds and cyclists, the hill at Dufferin is steep, the drivers aggressive. Commuting is to see accidents regularly. Ride over to Landsdown for Tom Samson’s ghost bike, same prob. Bike lanes end b4 the intersections for turning cars to “share the road”
— Mary Alton (@maryalton) July 27, 2022
A couple minutes over at Lansdowne and Davenport, you can expect to see reduced lanes very fast, meaning drivers may be quick to cut off bikers all together.
This intersection is also home to Tom Samson’s ghost bike memorial, an elementary school teacher who was struck and killed by a vehicle in 2012.
Royal York Road and Dundas Street West
This busy Etobicoke intersection is a skinny nightmares for bikers.
Cyclists will be met with a tiny smidge of a bike lane when traveling in either direction as cars zoom onto a small ramp to catch Dundas Street.
If you are in somebody’s blind spot, you could possibly get sideswiped as they try to merge.
— Toronto News Now (@torontonewsnow) February 25, 2015
Zaichkowski labels this intersection as “scary” to bike through, having done it many times. Not to mention Royal York is notorious for speeding drivers, who often treat the long road as the autobahn.
Lakeshore Boulevard East and Carlaw Avenue
This is a stupidly-busy intersection in the east end, with a majority of cars merging onto Lakeshore from the highway.
Those cars are often turning left onto Carlaw and ended up cutting off bikes or not noticing them at all. This is a well-known spot for collisions too.
This happens here way too much. I even witnessed a car pull out from Carlaw and hit a cyclist using the bike lane along Lakeshore.
— 🗡 atrocity exhibition 🗡 (@atrocity_ex) June 17, 2021
An advance green or turning light at the intersection allows cars to make their left turns, however, many cyclists report that drivers continue to make turns even when they are not permitted.
More Toronto intersections deserve careful consideration for cyclists
Of course there are many more streets that deserve some recognition, which is why we’re giving a special shoutout to: Danforth and Kingston; Yonge and the 401; Adelaide and Widmer; Bloor and Sherbournel; The Queensway from Parklawn to Roncesvalles; and, Sheppard and Addington, for also being remarkably terrible.
While Zaichkowski admits the city has done some recent work to make cycling more safe (like the Bloor-Danforth corridor and Midtown Yonge pilot) he says Toronto still has a lot of work to do to catch up with Montreal and Vancouver.
For construction zones, I recommend the city implement protective lanes.
“Given this is an election year and we [have] seven open wards, I encourage those who want safe streets to get involved. We need all hands on deck,” he said.