cyclists on lakeshore

Yesterday I saw some cyclists on the road, on Lakeshore Blvd, just past the Jameson exit. I realize that parts of the trail are closed, but… Lakeshore has 3-4 lanes of traffic, and most of the traffic goes faster than the limit of 60km/h. (I stay dead on at 60 cause I got a ticket there once.) It’s dangerous to go on the road there. Use the sidewalk; there are no homes or stores or anything, there are few pedestrians. There are runners and bladers, but they are going probably almost as fast as the cyclists.

20 Comments so far

  1. chris (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

    mmmm, you’re asking cyclists to get off the road? How bout you get off the road instead? Not such a nice request is it?

    Cyclists have as much right to be on Lakeshore Blvd. as any other vehicle. Bicycles are, by law, considered vehicles and are permitted on all roadways excluding 400 series highways. It is illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk if your wheels are over a certain size.. 20 inches I think. So if you’re on a regular adult bike you are required to ride on the road. What would solve this issue you have with cyclists on Lakeshore Blvd. would be for a proper bike lane to be laid out or for speed likmits to be reduced or at least respected. What’s also needed is a bit of mutual respect for others who are sharing the road with you.. rather than calling for them to get off the road.

  2. chris (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 6:24 pm

    Hah, it’s awesome how you posted this on Car Free Day.

  3. shy (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:10 pm

    actually, what i wish is that our city could have bike lanes just for cyclist. i’m not a cyclist myself but i remember visiting montreal and they had so many bike lanes which were painted out on the road right next to the regular traffic.

    it was a great symbiosis for both cars and bikes.

    having said that, i think lorraine meant well for the cyclists because yes – it can be dangerous. and the last thing we want is to see some one get hurt on the road. ANYONE. drivers or cyclists.

    i know a bike does not take up that much space but i have seen certain cyclist take up a lot of room.

    as a driver, it makes me very anxious. during heavy traffic, especially on a narrower street… *shudder*!

    i get nervous and usually find my way to the left lane just so i can pass them safely.

  4. lorraine (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:16 am

    Chris, what I’m getting at is that Lakeshore Blvd., in particular, that section, is dangerous.

    There are 3 lanes of traffic going 80 clicks in a 60 zone. I like to give the cyclist a full lane to ride in so that I give them lots of room so that I don’t accidentally hit them, or if they move unexpectedly. However with the traffic going so fast it’s hard to change lanes quickly, and hard to see a cyclist in time, who is going slower.

    Yes they may have the legal right to be on the road but they should use better judgement and what with the martin goodman trail closed, maybe had never ridden on that stretch of Lakeshore before and didn’t know that it’s more dangerous as roads go.

    I used to drive down Jane St. south from King Rd. towards Major Mac and there would be the odd cyclist on that 2 lane country road. I am sure they thought they were getting a nice pollution-free ride out in teh country with no traffic, but what I’m sure they didn’t realize is that many country roads in the GTA are used by commuters who exceed the speed limit. When you are cycling just over a hill on a 2 lane road, a motorist coming up the hill behind you may not be able to change lanes if there is oncoming traffic, and has a high chance of hitting you. The gravel shoulders on roads like that are not suitable for a cyclist to ride on, so invariably these cyclists are on the road.

    I think it’s great to promote cycling, and yes, bikes are vehicles that should be allowed on the road, but I believe that on Lakeshore, going eastbound between Jameson and the Coronation park, you are putting your life in danger cycling on the road. There are speed traps there almost every second day, but in that area, motorists drive as though they are still on the Gardiner. Maybe rumble strips for the area on Lakeshore just as you exit the Gardiner? :)

  5. Tanya (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 9:36 pm

    I’ve ridden on this section of Lakeshore and I don’t buy the idea that you are putting your life in danger cycling on this road. (I was however completely unimpressed to encounter a wrong-way cyclist once while cycling on this section of the road.) If you can’t figure out how to pass a visible and predictable cyclist safely, perhaps you need to revisit driving school.

    Many cyclists (myself included) are not just out for a nice pollution-free ride in the country (but that’s nice too) – I actually use my bike as transportation to get to different spots within the city and also to travel (go camping) or visit friends or family in other cities. When you go between cities, it isn’t practical to choose a route that some motorist won’t try to use as a speedway.

    If you don’t know that the Martin Goodman trail is closed when you are just out for a fun bike ride, you might turn around. If you are trying to get somewhere specific, you’ll take Lakeshore. Its unfortunate they don’t warn cyclists further back that the trail will be closed and suggest a detour. While biking on the sidewalk is illegal, I’ll take it when forced to detour the wrong way on Lakeshore (if they warned me in advance I would have taken a left at a traffic light). When going the right way, I find Lakeshore is fine, and will use it to avoid having to run into cyclists/pedestrians/rollerbladers in two directions all trying to share a narrow section of sidewalk.

  6. Tanya (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 9:41 pm

    As for Shy’s comment, bike lanes are there mainly for the benefit of drivers that seem to get freaked out by passing a slower moving vehicle. The most dangerous place for car-bike accidents is at intersections, and bike lanes make intersections much more confusing. Vehicles at intersections should be positioned in order: left-turning, straight and right-turning so nobody cuts anybody else off.

    Cyclists that take up a lot of room are doing so to be safe. If the lane is not narrow enough for a car to pass a cyclist *safely*, the smart cyclist will take the entire lane to encourage the driver to leave proper space for passing, rather than ride in the gutter and encourage a buzz-by.

  7. shy (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 10:24 pm

    tanya – i agree with you that on *certain* roads, bike lanes are more helpful for the driver who is nervous about passing the cyclist.

    i don’t agree with your attitude on saying that the driver is ‘freaked out’ by pasing a cyclist.

    i especially think it is unfair for some one who transports mainly on a bike to assume that a driver should go back to driving school if they are not comfortable passing a cyclist in an area with no bike lanes.

    completely unfair. it’s basically putting ALL blame on the driver. and what i’m saying that it is not easy to put blame on either.

    now, i’m talking about smaller routes where the lanes are very narrow. in such a case, especially during rush hour, cyclists do because a hinderence as there are many residential streets that would be safer (and just as quick) to cut through. note i am not talking about downtown but the suburbs where i am from.

    once again, i believe that bike lanes are there for the benefit of BOTH drivers and cyclists. and to try and make this a debate that divides the two groups against each other is non-progressive and somewhat tactless.

    my take on bike lanes actually come from friends who are cyclists and are all for more bike lanes. which is why i wrote my comment in the first place.

  8. Tanya (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 2:27 am

    Sorry it sounded like you were freaked out by your comment – “as a driver, it makes me very anxious. during heavy traffic, especially on a narrower street… *shudder*!”

    What I’m trying to say is a driver should treat a cyclist the same way they would any other vehicle, although sometimes it may be travelling at a slower rate of speed (but then so do garbage trucks, some transit vehicles, snowplows etc.) Sometimes this means SLOWING down. Its not the end of the world.

    Some cyclists prefer bike lanes. Personally I don’t care if there’s a bike lane or not, if the road is convenient to my route I’m going to use it. A wide curb lane is actually most beneficial (without a stripe) for drivers and cyclists as both can pass in the same lane but its not as restrictive.

    There’s many reasons why the cyclist may not cut through the residential streets. The cyclist should be able to choose any non-limited-access highway (like the 401) that suits their personal comfort level and ride on it. Maybe the side streets have 4-way-stops along them – that certainly kills a cyclist’s momentum. Maybe the cyclist is unfamiliar with which streets go through in the area and so the main route means they are less likely to get lost. Going a more indirect way adds extra distance. And when you say the residential streets are safer, that is YOUR perception of safety not the cyclists perception of safety. I don’t feel unsafe at all cycling on most arterial roads, so why not use them if they are convenient?

    I’m also sure that the cyclist taking a lane on a 4-lane road during rush hour causes no more delay than a car deciding to make a left-hand turn where no dedicated left lane exists.

  9. lorraine (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 9:43 am

    My main problem with cyclists on Lakeshore in that particular area is that the motorists have just come off the Gardiner/QEW and are NOT going the posted limit of 60, they are going 80 or 100 km/h, and so if I cycled on the road at all, I would NOT in that area, because the motorists are carelessly speeding, and I wouldn’t count on them to slow down in time to safely pass a cyclist on the road.

  10. Tanya (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    On country roads motorists are often travelling these speeds and safe passing still occurs. (of course they are usually straighter and wider) I was on that section of Lakeshore a few days ago on my bike. I shoulder-checked frequently to see who was behind me, and if it appeared someone was going to get too close (didn’t happen) I would have pulled over right to the curb to allow lots of space for passing.

    Shouldn’t the individual cyclist get to make their own judgment of risk according to their own skill level? I find it much safer to be travelling in the same direction with cars (even going 50+ km/h faster than I am) going in straight and predictable lines, than to be on a busy MGT with a variety of users travelling in unpredictable directions – dogs that dart in front of the wheel, having to watch out for leashes, rollerbladers as wide as the path, little kids on training wheel bikes that may change direction at any time.

    Because of the unpredictable nature of the multi-user paths the posted speed limit is 20 km/h. That’s a speed thats attainable by ANYONE with a properly set up bicycle on level ground. For a fit and experienced cyclist its painfully and excrutiatingly slow. Practically when the path is not busy its possible to be going faster and not be a danger to anyone. When the path is busy with people, 15 becomes the realistic upper limit. If a cyclist is trying to say bike from somewhere downtown TO to Port Credit, Lakeshore is the practical choice of route. While they can take the trail until the Gardiner ends, doing so would take twice as long at 15-20 than 30-40.

    I’d also disagree that runners are moving almost as fast as bikes. The average jogger on the path might be going 10 km/h. A well-trained cyclist on a road bike might (want to) be going 40 km/h. 10 and 40 are not close. 10 and 20 aren’t even close.

  11. shy (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 7:37 pm


    my comment of being nervous and anxious when passing a cyclist on a narrow road does not support the fact that such bikes lanes would then be created just for those who nervous like myself. i am one of many drivers. my sole reaction would not generalize other drivers out there. even still, i stand by what i say… that bike lanes are meant for both cyclists and drivers. there should be no blame placed on either groups here.

    i also do not think that just because i happen to admit that i am nervous, that i should be grouped with those that need to go back to driving school. i think a lot of people, good drivers and bad drivers, would be somewhat a little anxious and/or nervous when passing such a cyclist. at least on some degree.

    as for saying that four way stops slow down cyclists… well as a driver, i use residential streets when i have to and i too will have momentem slowed down or halted due to stop signs and/or cross walks. but i do not complain about them. point being is that if you’re going to use such an argument for cyclist, use one that can’t also be used for drivers.

    unfamiliarty of streets is no excuse for any commuters. it is everyone’s responsibility, drivers or cyclists, to make sure they get to know the area of where they are going to communte to.

    if you talk about allowing cyclist to be accountable for their own risks, i say that they should then be responsible (as we are talking about accountability here) of their requirement to know the area they are driving through.

    you are basically trying to make it seem like cyclists have less respnsibily on the roads as drivers. yet you put so much more emphasis on the driver to do this and do that…

    but when it comes to having to deal with stop signs (ie. losing momentum as you call it) or knowing one’s way around their commute line, you make it sound as if cyclists need not bother with such things.

    if you are arguing that a cyclists has every right to be on the road, of which i’m not entirely disagreeing with you, then fair is fair… they need to also take responsibiliy of such matters as i have illustrated.

    having said that, i do think it is interesting that you feel it’s not allowed for drivers to be frustrated with slow cyclists (as it should not hinder traffic that much, as you put it) yet drivers DO get tickets for driving too slow.

    so there is a little bit of an unbalance in that regards in that drivers are much more responsible for how they operate their automobiles then that of a cyclist.

    just remember… i’m not totally disagreeing with you.

    but i AM still an advocate of bike lanes and i do not see how any of your arguments can truely account for your stance that bike lanes are the “benefit of drivers that seem to get freaked out by passing a slower moving vehicle.”

    i still find that statement completely loaded and very debatable as it is such a subjective statement.

  12. Tanya (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

    Just as a driver can choose any route he/she wants to reach his/her destination, a cyclist should be able to choose any route they want as well. You have no idea why the cyclist chose that route, and they have every right to choose that route if they want to. As for your momentum argument, I hardly think its equal for bikes or cars. One involves physical exertion – its tiring to constantly stop and start, and the other stepping effortlessly on a gas pedal.

    Cyclists have all the same responsibilities as any other driver on the road, as they are defined as a vehicle under the HTA. When they are moving slower than the rest of traffic, they should be to the right as far as practical (which is much different than as far as possible) to allow faster moving traffic to pass. Cyclists can be ticketed for impeding traffic if they don’t do this.

    Cyclists are under no responsibility to plan their route for the convenience of motorists.

    Bike lanes – while many cyclists do like them – have numerous issues associated with them that do effect cyclist safety. They do make it easy for vehicles to overtake cyclists without having to change position. They discourage proper vehicle positioning with respect to direction of travel at intersections, and have a higher rate of accidents in many cases at intersections. Bike paths – separate from the roadway but next to them – are even worse for bike-car accidents when there are intersections that cross the bike path.

    An absence of a bike lane should in no way indicate that a road is unsuitable or unusable by a cyclist.

  13. shy (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2005 @ 7:04 pm

    i have to make this as short as possible…

    1. “Cyclists can be ticketed for impeding traffic if they don’t do this.”

    yet we rarely see this happen so… moot point.

    2 “As for your momentum argument, I hardly think its equal for bikes or cars. One involves physical exertion – its tiring to constantly stop and start, and the other stepping effortlessly on a gas pedal.”

    what? too tiring? then i have one word for you… TTC! honestly… if you’re going to use this argument then i could also use the same argument you used when said that a driver who can not just pass a cyclist ‘needs to back to driver’s school’. and here it goes… if a cyclist is too tired to start and stop again for a stop sign, then they are out of shape and should get in shape. and hey! if it’s tiring then it must be working as a way of great exercise! also, downtown roots have a lot of traffic lights. they will probably be stoping and starting juts as much as those stop signs found on residential routes.

    3. “Cyclists are under no responsibility to plan their route for the convenience of motorists.”

    i never said that they were responsible to plan their route for the sake of other motorists. where the hell did i say that? hmm… let me go back and re-read my previous comment. ahh… here is what i wrote: “unfamiliarty of streets is no excuse for any commuters. it is everyone’s responsibility, drivers or cyclists, to make sure they get to know the area of where they are going to communte to.”

    see? i said it is the responsibiliy of EVERYONE. for their own good and to reduce accidents. and why do i say this? because i’ve talked to those working for ministry of transportation, they have stated that anyone using the road would be much more responsible as a driver if they prepare themselves by knowing the area they are commuting to. knowing alternative routes is being responsible.

    finally, i never said that an absence of a bike lane should result say that a cyclist should not use that road. i merely said we need more bike lanes.

    and i’m amazed and a little peeved that you’re going on and on over such a reasonable comment as wanting more bike lanes for the safety of all.

  14. shy (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2005 @ 7:07 pm

    btw, i tried to email tanya but i don’t think it was a real email address.

  15. Tanya (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 12:42 pm

    I think Shy should try bike commuting for a week.

    I don’t pick arterial instead of residential roads to ride on because I’m lazy, but because I want to get to work (or my destination) on a direct and time-efficient route. I ride on arterial roads in a way that is safe, visible and predictable, while being as courteous as possible of other road users. This rarely causes ANY delay to other road users. If I am causing any delay and there are other vehicles backed up behind me, I will pull over as far as I can (when its safe to do so) to let them past. Occasionally it seems to extremely aggravate some drivers that they can’t get to the red light faster, or that they can’t make use of two car lengths worth of room to aggressively jump in front of the driver in the next lane.

    I was trying to say that bike lanes should not be necessary to make things safer for all. All road users should be able to figure out how to share the road, and how to overtake slower traffic safely. Bike lanes do make more cyclists (esp novices) more comfortable using the road, so that’s a good thing. They do make things more complicated at intersections, and intersections are where the majority of accidents occur, so I’m not totally buying the idea they make things safer.

    Using residential routes (as a motorist) as ways to cut around congestion on arterial roads as thoroughfares is disrespectful and irresponsible of the residents of the area, who do not want noisy, polluting, fast-moving traffic going by their residences and endangering their children walking around the neighbourhood.

  16. Tanya (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

    Lorraine – fair enough, a lot of motorists along Lakeshore are speeding. I think however it should be up to the individual cyclist to judge if the road meets their own risk standards. Drivers must still be held accountable if they cause an accident with another law-abiding road user, and should never be driving faster than their line of sight will allow them to avoid any unexpected road obstacle.

  17. shy (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

    *sigh* i’m too tired and busy to read all that tanya has to saw now…

    all i know is that cycling is not my choice for commute nor do i need to try cycling for a week. i’ve spent years doing one hour commutes by ttc.

    now that i CAN drive to work, i prefer it that way. it is safer and quicker. i work hard all day and then need to rush home to be a full-time parent who wants to take the responsibily of being there for my daughter.

  18. Tanya (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

    Cycling is faster than driving in the city much of the time. Take whatever method of transport you want to work, just don’t knock anyone else’s legal choice to use the roadway. Or knock us over :)

    PS thanks for helping to set a record # of smog days!

  19. shy (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 4:17 pm

    tanya – try paying attention and be fair in at least reading what i’ve written. as i have pointed out before, i never said you have no right to legally use the roadway.

    however, i have every right to point out that people like you whine WAY too much in how you should be treated when on the road. please… whenever i communte by car i NEVER get in the way of a cyclist but i have every right to admit that they are a nuisance and a danger to other motorists.

    my arguements was NEVER EVER to say you should not cycle on the road. stop putting words in my mouth and mature the hell up. it’s like arguing with a teen who just wants her last two words and who wants to whine and argue the same point over and over again.

    my arguement is in disagreement with your attitude. the kind that some cyclist carry in regards to wanting more rights when on the road.


    the roads, whether you like it or not, is more for those who drive. if you have a problem with that, don’t take it up with me but with the government.

    you need to try driving where i commute for a week yourself before you decide that cycling is faster. there’s no way driving is faster in the east end of the GTA. i have no idea where you came up with that b.s.

    and if it is faster then don’t knock us for the fact that YOU are causing us slower traffic when two lanes on a small road must merge into one during rush hour due to one cyclist on a popular, motorist commute route (such as mcnicol).

    it’s amazing. you say one point, she throws you something that contradicts what she said earlier. and then later, she becomes a huge hypocrit.

  20. lorraine (unregistered) on November 5th, 2005 @ 8:11 pm

    the time has come to agree to disagree

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