Cops re­mind adult cy­clists in Lea­side to stay on roads

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - BRIAN FITZ­PATRICK METRO

As po­lice warn that side­walk cy­cling in Lea­side is putting pedes­tri­ans in dan­ger, ad­vo­cates say rid­ers of­ten have nowhere else to go.

Last week, 53 Divi­sion took to Face­book to say they had re­ceived ris­ing com­plaints of adult cy­clists on side­walks and that of­fend­ers can be tick­eted.

“This forces pedes­tri­ans to have to move out of the way, in­clud­ing chil­dren. Fur­ther putting them at risk of be­ing hit by a bi­cy­cle,” they posted. “IT IS LE­GAL for a child with a kids­size bi­cy­cle to ride on the side­walk, NOT ADULTS!”

The Toronto Mu­nic­i­pal Code states that “No per­son age14 and older shall ride a bi­cy­cle on a side­walk of any high­way,” but cy­cling ad­vo­cates say bike users would rarely choose the side­walk if given a safe al­ter­na­tive. That can be a chal­lenge in con­struc­tion-heavy ar­eas.

“My No.1thought when I see adults do­ing it is that they feel that it’s not safe enough to cy­cle on the street,” said Yvonne Bam­brick, author of The Ur­ban Cy­cling Sur­vival Guide.

“Yes it’s il­le­gal, and that’s for a rea­son. But some rid­ers will do it with great cour­tesy.”

Po­lice ac­knowl­edged lo­cal con­struc­tion was an is­sue, but warned peo­ple of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the High­way Traf­fic Act. The post sparked a lively de­bate, with some re­ply­ing in favour of a clam­p­down and oth­ers say­ing po­lice should be more fo­cused on dan­ger­ous driv­ers.

Jared Kolb of Cy­cle Toronto said that, with projects like pro­tected bike lanes on Eglin­ton still some way off, Lea­side cy­clists are suf­fer­ing from the same prob­lem faced ev­ery­where: a dearth of safe spa­ces.

“We gen­er­ally ad­vise against it — but though it is il­le­gal, it may be the safe op­tion,” he said. “We’ve got 15,000 kilo­me­tres of gen­eral ve­hi­cle lanes and only 30 kilo­me­tres of pro­tected bike lanes.”

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