Cyclists who use the Woodbine Avenue bike lanes are wondering when a driver will cross the line and run them down.
And with so many bollards that separate the bike lane from fast-moving traffic mowed down by vehicles, their fears seem to be justified.
One of the key reasons for creating cycling lanes is to provide a dedicated space for riders, providing at least an illusion of safety that comes with separation from motorized vehicles.
On streets with high traffic volumes, flexible bollards that bend when struck by a vehicle are used to make drivers more aware of the need to stay in their lane, instead of the cycling lane.
But when many of the bollards have been mowed down by vehicles, cyclists legitimately worry that they are next.
Gim Ardal described the lanes on both sides of Woodbine, south of Danforth Avenue, as “in a woeful state,” adding that “many of the bollards have been knocked down and left to clutter the bike lanes, and this is before the season of the plow.
“I would understand if it was spring, but they’ve been like this for months,” said Ardal in an email. “Since the lanes went in the city has done zero maintenance or clearing.
“Bollards meant to protect cyclists are left in the lane to impede and imperil cyclists. If the city creates infrastructure meant to reach their target zero of cyclist deaths — it would sure be nice if (it was) more than lip service.
“If they are not used due to their poor state, everybody loses and it’s only a matter of time before someone is injured or killed by either hitting the abandoned bollards in the bike lane or by being mowed down by a careless driver as there is no separation of lanes.”
I went there and found dozens of flattened bollards between Danforth and Gerrard Street, with many scattered along the road and sidewalks. No wonder it’s scary for cyclists.
STATUS: Becky Katz, manager of cycling and pedestrian projects, emailed to say “flexible bollards are an inexpensive and fast option to keep people who are cycling separated from moving vehicles. The city is aware of maintenance issues with flexible bollards at several locations,” adding that they’re “a temporary solution. When identified through 311 requests, damaged/downed bollards will be removed and identified for replacement … subject to weather and contractor availability. These types of flexible bollards are used throughout North America and Toronto is not alone in dealing with the (maintenance) challenges. The city is evaluating new types of higher quality, lower maintenance separators to ensure we can continue to roll out protected bike lanes quickly and efficiently.”
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