Cycling on Lake Shore Blvd. a bit like Russian roulette
Riding a bike on Lake Shore Blvd. may not be illegal, but it is incredibly dangerous, if not foolhardy.
A Wednesday headline in the “Must Reads” section of thestar.com really jumped out at me: Is cycling on Lake Shore Blvd. illegal?
A reader had asked if it is legal for cyclists to use Lake Shore, noting that “I am seeing more and more cyclists on Lake Shore through downtown and beneath the Gardiner Expressway.”
The question was answered in the Star’s Wheels section, where Eric Lai wrote “there is nothing that prevents cyclists from using the roadway on Lake Shore Blvd., as long as they abide by the rules of the road.”
That may be true, but as an occasional cyclist and regular driver, I cannot think of a street in Toronto less suited to cycling than Lake Shore.
Unlike other streets that are three lanes wide in both directions, Lake Shore is an access point for ramps that lead to and from the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.
A lot of traffic that is usually moving faster than the 60 k/ph speed limit while entering or exiting the freeways is in the curb lane, just inches away from cyclists who'd be sharing the same space.
Anyone who uses it knows that it is a magnet for dolts wearing wraparound sunglasses and baseball caps turned backwards, driving tuner cars as though they are in a Need For Speed match on their PlayStation or X-Box.
The way a lot of them weave through traffic precludes the careful attention needed to be aware of and respectful towards cyclists.
The worrisome part is the reader’s observation that more and more cyclists are riding on the downtown stretch of Lake Shore, which I haven’t noticed but may well be true.
I believe bike lanes painted in the area next to the curb makes just about any street safer for cyclists, but that would never be the case on Lake Shore.
I am also a believer in the I Share The Road campaign started by James Schwartz, one of the most common-sense cycling advocates out there, but I doubt he’d recommend Lake Shore as a cycling route.
If anybody disagrees, I’d like to hear their reasoning, but the Martin Goodman Trail runs along much of the Lake Shore and is absolutely the safer way to go.