“The bike lanes are going to change our lives”: What cyclists and non-cyclists think of Bloor Street’s new bike-friendly flow

By Jennifer Cheng| Photography by Brittany Carmichael

Last week, the city began construction on Bloor Street’s first set of bike lanes, between Avenue Road and Shaw Street. The idea has been in the works for 40 years (yes, really)—but, even now, the lanes may not be here to stay. City staff are studying the results of the new traffic pattern. They’ll be reporting back in the third quarter of 2017, at which point city councillors will have an opportunity to decide whether or not the project is a success. In the meantime, people on Bloor Street are already beginning to form their own opinions. We spoke with cyclists and non-cyclists about whether or not these new lines on the asphalt are a good thing.

Kristin Booy

28, employment counsellor from Koreatown

“Finally, I’m having a leisurely experience on Bloor. It’s extremely convenient going east from my neighbourhood. I also feel more comfortable, like I don’t have to be as assertive as a cyclist, because the bike lanes legitimize our presence on the road. With these bike lanes, cyclists will be less spontaneous. It’s more organized and predictable for drivers.”

Brett Townley

39, lighting technician from the Annex

“I don’t think bike lanes on Bloor are necessary when we already have them two seconds away on Harbord. I’ve been living at Spadina and Bloor for nine years, and I ride a BMX bike because traffic is terrible here. I think Bloor was already safe, because it’s so slow. I would like the city to show us a cost-benefit analysis. I don’t get the current rationale. It seems to be mostly a political thing, so the city can say Toronto is green and listening to its people.”

Matthew Dejong

28, university student from Koreatown

“They make it more comfortable for me to be on a bike. I don’t have to question where I should be on the road. I think it will improve driver-cyclist relations—but car passengers might not be used to checking for bikers on their right before opening the door.”

Mark Laliberte

Artist from Parkdale

“The bike lanes have great potential to improve relations between drivers and cyclists, but it all depends on enforcement. Cars need to know that they shouldn’t be in the bike lanes.”

Christine Hartmann

65, couturier from Avenue and Davenport

“Usually, I cut through the Annex, but with the new bike lanes it’ll be easier for me to go from east to west. This week has been my first time cycling on Bloor.”

Liz Mayer

62, editor from Bloor and Ossington


“My husband and I recently went car-free. The bike lanes are going to change our lives—but drivers here are not as cognizant as those in Montreal, where we just moved from. Cycle paths have existed longer there, and cyclists don’t have to live in fear of oblivious drivers making turns. I’ve never seen drivers park and stop in bike lanes in Montreal.”

Mikhailo Babiak

28, musician from Spadina and Bloor

“The fact that we have to argue for bike lanes on a main artery is astonishing. It’s surprising that it has taken the city this long. I think bike lanes will clear up some of the confusion between cyclists and drivers about right-of-way. With bike lanes, it’ll be safer for cyclists.”

Kejo Buchanan

40, information professional from Jarvis and Dundas

“I think the bike lanes will make Bloor more village-like and easier to navigate. It’ll become less of a main street and more of a shopping street, like Bloor West Village. And as long as the city provides off-street parking, I don’t think anyone will mind. A lot of drivers don’t understand the rules because they’re from the suburbs, not Toronto. The bike lanes will create the sense that we’re sharing the road.”

Kathy Kossow

69, retiree from Etobicoke

“A city of this size can’t afford to cater to cars anymore. I think driver-cyclist relations will only improve if the bike lanes on Bloor have flexible bollards. It’ll prevent cars from veering into bike lanes and bikes from veering into cars. Cyclists can be horribly irresponsible, but I appreciate them for riding bikes.”


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