Cycling in Toronto is growing in popularity, for exercise, recreation and as an environmentally friendly and cost effective way to get around the city. As the cost of owning and driving a car increases, along with the hassles of driving in a big city, hitting the open road on two wheels is more and more attractive. As this movement grows, so does the culture around the mode of transportation, along with the infrastructure to support it. Although, it hasn’t been an easy road (pun intended) for cyclists in Toronto over the last decade!
I dove deeper into this topic in this post “On Cycling In The City: Then And Now”.
The growth of the Toronto Bicycling Network is a testament to the size of the bike movement in Toronto. Established in the 1980s, this recreational bike organization organizes a host of urban and suburban rides to suit all levels of fitness and experience. They also do overnight trips. They also are a great resource for aspiring bikers to learn more about bike safety, etiquette and maintenance. The TBN has a free mobile app available for download at the Apple AppStore or Android PlayStore (look for the Toronto Bicycling Network). With a quick and easy click, bikers can find out about upcoming rides right from their device.
After much backing and forthing during the 2010s, where bike lanes were added and removed in a see saw between balancing cyclists and motorists needs and safety, the city has released a comprehensive Cycling Network Plan. In 2016, the city approved a 10-year cycling plan and in 2019, they released an update with specific steps and plans for development going forward.
Through 2021, over 120km of cycling infrastructure is planned in addition to upgrades to existing infrastructure. There is a further 70km under review. Their plan looked at current areas of high use as well as areas that have shorter trips frequently made by people (under 5km) that would be favourable to bike in the future, if the infrastructure was in place.
Bike sharing is becoming more and more popular in Toronto, with sites increasing regularly. Whether you are looking for a quick one-time commute or ride, or something longer-term, varying membership levels and prices points will get riders access to 5000 bikes at 465 points around the city throughout 100 square kilometers. Simply unlock a bike at one location. You’ve got 30 minutes to ride. If you need to ride beyond that, you simply dock your bike at a location and swap your bike for a new one.
Bike Share has a handy free app called CycleFinder, available through the Apple Store and GooglePlay that lets users quickly and easily plan routes right from their phone.
Another app that Toronto cyclers will find useful is Bike Space. With this app, cyclers can report bike parking issues. This information is intended to help policy makers be aware of city hotspots that require more parking. Bikers can also communicate about broken bike racks and report abandoned bikes taking up space.
Wondering about the lifestyle benefits of being able to cycle to work and to get around town? Have you seen my post What Are The Real Financial, Emotional And Health Costs Of Commuting?
Buying a home that facilitates this kind of lifestyle is something to consider. We are here to help!
Here are some of our past informative posts on Toronto cycling!
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