Cops remind adult cyclists in Leaside to stay on roads
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.”