Bike Spotting on Adelaide: Does this new bike lane need bollards?

A postal truck parks in the new bike lane on Adelaide, as a cyclist goes around into traffic to pass.

Bike Spotting on the new bike lane on Adelaide

We asked: Does this new bike lane need bollards or some form or protection?

Photos by Claire McFarlane, interviews by Tammy Thorne

In celebration of the fabulous new Richmond-Adelaide bikeway project, we're Bike Spotting these freshly installed bike lanes.  After speaking to some dandy people on Simcoe during the last Bike Spotting, we went to check out Adelaide which was just striped and may be getting bollards by September in select locations where encroachment is common, according to planners with the City.

We asked the City of Toronto's lead planner on the project, Lukasz Pawlowski, when the protective barriers for this pilot project will be installed. Pawlowski said that all of the lanes (except perhaps Peter) will be painted by the end of August, but after the paint is applied the city is using "considerable resources" to observe the effectiveness of the painted lane alone before installing bollards in select locations. This observation period takes a minimum of two weeks per lane, which puts the *potential* installation of bollards on the yet-to-be-painted Richmond lane into September.

So we asked regular cyclists: Does this new bike lane on Adelaide need bollards or some form or protection?


Rob : Probably [it does need protection such as bollards] because I bet you a thousand bucks there will be like 500 cars parked in it [the new bike lane]. I went down Simcoe the first day and there were tonnes of cars parked in it.


Nyree: I love that it's here, it's better than the previous system of almost getting hit by cars every 10 feet. I wish it went all the way to Bathurst, that would be nice. The bollards would be great!


Arthur : Yes! I was just thinking this bike lane needs separation because cars and bikes can't play along nicely with each other if they're on the same road. I think the only way to keep things safe is to have a physical separation.


Ben: You actually just caught me at a really frustrating moment because I actually just went around two cars parked in the bike lane and obviously the busses are in it (we spoke to Ben as he was waiting for a bus to move out of the bike lane). It doesn't really do anything, it's painted on the road but aside from that it doesn't feel like a bike lane.


Brock: Yes, of course it does!


Branden: The ones on Sherbourne are kinda nice but occasionally if you're a fast cyclist you can't pass people because there is a divider there.

City staff will report back on the success of the total pilot project in the summer of 2015. One wonders how successful a bikeway network will be when it does not connect with other bike lanes (like Sherbourne) but it does provide ample road-side parking for motorists who just need to "make a quick stop." After the interview with City of Toronto planner Lukasz Pawlowski, I still didn't understand why the bollards would not be installed from the get go. Apparently, the city is "evaluating different separation treatments" to help curb encroachments. But when I asked if jersey barriers (big cement barriers like some of the bi-directional lanes in Montreal) would be used, he said that would be "highly unlikely" due to space restrictions. So, then, might we see some lovely planters (like we see on John now in Toronto except those are supposed to be for pedestrians only for some reason.) Probably not, again, space is at a premium in most of the Richmond-Adelaide corridor and bollards make the most sense and are the most versatile. Cyclists using Adelaide will now have to wait for at least two weeks for the city to decide where bollards might be placed on this stretch. No word on how long it will take for them to be installed once it is decided, but September seems like a logical guess. Richmond will be painted "soon" and then encroachment in that bike lane will be documented for two to three weeks before bollard placement is decided on.

Do you want to help out or be part of our bike spotting crew? Email:

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Bike Spotting at Simcoe and King: What do you think of this new bike lane on Simcoe?

Bike Spotting on Sherbourne at Adelaide: Do you know about the pilot project for bike lanes on Adelaide-Richmond?

Bike Spotting: dutil denim giveaway on Queen West

Harbord bike lane upgrades: update

Bike Plans in Other Cities: Mississauga, Ottawa, Waterloo and London, Ontario

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One response to “Bike Spotting on Adelaide: Does this new bike lane need bollards?”

  1. Ben says:

    Weird. I was just on Adelaide yesterday evening and there was nothing painted on this block. So by freshly painted you mean REALLY fresh!

    Glad to see it, but this reluctance to install the bollards is nutso. I really don’t understand the difference between any old painted “bike lane” and a “cycle track” except for the proposed placement of bollards or some kind of buffer. Does anyone else know?

    Also, this thing needs to connect to Sherbourne. Until then it’s all just bits and pieces, but far from a comprehensive step towards a bikeable downtown.

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