Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Pt. IV: Safety Issue #10 out now!
dandyhorse’s Safety Issue is on newsstands!
For this Bike Spotting series we talked to cyclists at Bayview and Blythwood, Dupont Triangle, Queen and Cameron, York University, the Danforth and Chester, Regent Park and Queen and Dufferin, to hear some of the safety concerns cyclists throughout the city have.
We asked: Do you feel safe biking here? What would you to to make it safer?
Also see our roundup of the Best of Bike Spotting with Safety in Focus.
Interviews by Sarah Greene and Amelia Brown
Talia (Cameron and Queen) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick
I sometimes feel unsafe here. It’s not that bad, but I’m pretty brave. I drive an SUV and also bike, and I say this to everybody: The only way you don’t piss off drivers and bikers is by installing bike lanes. But not painted—separated bike lanes. We just need, essentially, someone in City Hall who supports it and can push it through. I don’t think Mayor Ford is that person.
Karey Iron (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne
From St Clair and Christie, where I live, I have two choices in the final stretch towards my destination of Sunnybrook Hospital on Bayview:
1. Bayview: a north/south fast-moving thoroughfare
2. Blythwood: an east/west tree-lined gulley side street that runs right from Mount Pleasant into Sunnybrook Hospital
Which is safer? The obvious choice seems to be Blythwood. But, what appears benign and pretty on the surface may sometimes be fraught with peril upon closer inspection. There are steep hills no matter which way you go, deep potholes and broken road (scary on the downhill), parked cars and impatient taxi drivers going to and from the hospital, mini-buses and trucks with very wide mirrors.
Blythwood needs to get fit! Fix the tired concrete, get rid of parking during rush hour and get a brighter streetscape. With these small improvements, I will fully appreciate the sweet sounds and smell of ravine twice a day as I enter the gulley.
Jo-Ann McArthur (The Big Carrot, Chester and The Danforth) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick
I feel very safe biking on the Danforth. Of course, bike lanes would be great. There were some for a while – I think artists did them or people were spray painting the bikes lanes on themselves, and that was good. I know I’m the anomaly here, and most people feel less than safe biking in Toronto, but I love biking in Toronto. I bike in Calcutta, I bike in lots of other cities, so this is a breeze compared to other places.
Morgan Hicks and Amanda Hamilton (York University, The Pond and Sentinel) Photo by Heather Reid
MF-In this area? Yeah, for sure.
AH-During the day…
MF-It’s not a very safe area at night
AH-It’s not safe in general, whether you’re biking or not.
MF- I’m not too sure how they could even improve safety in the evenings.
AH- I would just say a lot more lighting everywhere
MF- I’ve never had a bad incident in particular…not yet
AH- You just hear rumours, a lot of things happen around here
MF- You get a lot of security bulletins and police emails about things that are taking place. But as far as biking on the street with cars goes, I’ve never felt in danger or that they were speeding too much.
Laurence Lue (The Dupont Triangle, Dupont and Dundas) Photo by Vic Gedris
It’s a confusing intersection. One, two, three, four, five streets sort of converge here, the lights are in a weird sequence, it’s just not your normal four-way intersection.
The bike lanes are helping, the left turn onto Annette is a little bit frustrating because it seems like you have to wait longer than you need to to make it across.
Emily Harris-McLeod (Regent Park) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick
That’s crazy, I was just thinking about how incredibly unsafe I felt. When the cars are trying to pass the streetcars it just feels like they’re about to run you over. My half-hour commute is largely on bike lanes and sometimes there’s absolutely no way you can get from one bike lane to another. So I get to experience both being on a bike lane and not. And it really makes a difference in terms of how safe you feel, how much you feel like you’ll disrupt traffic. It’s just scary. You always feel like you could get hurt at any second. I feel much safer on bike paths, especially the raised one. I was just on Sherbourne and that was really nice, but I hate biking on this stretch of Dundas
Special thanks to Vic Gedris, Heather Reid and Yvonne Bambrick. If you’d like to see more of their beautiful photos, buy the Safety issue of dandyhorse.
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See previous dandyhorse Bike Spotting
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