Spotted: Cyclists Must Take Lane

Photo by Lisa Nabieszko

What: Altered construction sign that says: “Cyclists must take lane”.

Where: Strachan south of King

When: Early October

Who: Lisa Nabieszko took this photo while sitting in traffic … oh the irony!!

Lisa is a Leslievillian with a new west-end day job, who used to commute by bike but has been driving in and out of Liberty Village.

“They are building (what else) condos, right beside the tracks. That little 2-block stretch from King to Fleet Street is tighter than last summer’s shorts, and the amount of road available to share varies pretty much on a daily basis depending on what stage the work crew is at,” Lisa said. “I never fail to be amazed by the number of bike commuters there are, especially in the west end. As a cyclist-turned-car-commuter, I feel like all my antennae are on high alert every moment I am behind the wheel; so many cyclists seem to jump out at you out of nowhere! I need 360 degree vision!”

Construction crews are hurrying to finish projects before the winter freeze, and cyclists all over town are being told to get off their bikes and walk through construction zones.

This sign (above) used to say “Cyclists must dismount”.

Thank you to whoever altered it and replaced dismount with Take Lane!!

Cyclists are legally allowed to take the lane.

It is also advised by Can-Bike that cyclists should ride in a straight, predictable line, so it only makes sense if there is debris or, you know, 18 wheelers and scaffolding in the bike lane that you should be riding in the centre of the adjacent lane. Can-Bike says cyclists should be as visible as possible. This Can-Bike safety tip dictates that when one lane disappears you should use the other one. “Highway Traffic Acts across Canada tell all vehicle users to occupy any part of a lane when safety warrants it. Bikes are vehicles too. In the event of parked vehicles, construction, snow banks, etc. If the lane is obstructed and there is not enough room to share the lane while passing the obstruction, take the whole lane to prevent vehicles from passing too close.”

College currently provides a great example of why cyclists need to take the lane. Although College is one of our longest continuous bike lanes downtown, it is often filled with double parked cars and delivery trucks and is not really very safe for cycling. Right now, the bike lane is completely filled with construction materials on the north side all day long between Elizabeth to McCaul. A sign there simply says “Bike lane closed.”

Big trucks with supplies are also parking in the bike lane on the south side at University during rush hour because they “have a permit” and a police officer, sipping Tim’s, on standby. It seems odd to me that in such a high traffic zone, with student cyclists and so many hospital staff heading into work should be expected to put up with such dangerous traffic situations without proper re-routes.

Cyclists must take the lane.

P.S. Be courteous to fellow cyclists and let them know when you are passing!

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Other cities love bike lanes.

 

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One Response to “Spotted: Cyclists Must Take Lane”

  1. scott says:

    I totally love the sign alteration. I am sadly also a recent cyclist turned auto-commuter, as my job requires a vehicle most days. It’s nice to see the mention above of the Can Bike rules regarding “taking a lane”, in which most cyclists are unaware and drivers even less (even many police unfortunately). In fact, every point made above is extremely valid, but something is missing..

    The rush hour commute is becoming insanely populated by cyclists (a very good thing I might add). They come in all sizes, fitness levels, abilities and unfortunately sense of awareness to their surroundings… Everyday I see a rider blindly swinging out to go around a construction zone or from the back of a pack of commuters to overtake other cyclists, completely oblivious to what may be coming from behind. This often results in near misses with vehicles and even other cyclists that are performing the same manoeuvre! It even culminates into several cyclists sprawling three, even four riders wide into traffic without a single shoulder check!!

    This is something I’ve noticed over the past two summers while commuting on my bike, so please no car hater responses ;) I did 10+ years as a bike messenger in this city, I am well aware of the ignorance of some car drivers. It’s not about weather the cyclists are within their rights, it’s about awareness. Cyclists need to take the initiative and be aware of their surroundings, because not every car coming from behind is piloted by a conscientious ex-messenger anticipating their stupid manoeuvres. As my mom used to say, it doesn’t matter who is in the wrong, you’re just as dead…

    Ride Safe!

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