On a warm sunny morning in Toronto, so many cyclists zip along College Street that bystanders might mistakenly think they were in bike-crazy Amsterdam, where 60 per cent of downtown trips are made on two wheels. As this map shows, Toronto’s central core – with its many bike lanes and slower traffic – is the most popular area in the city for cycling. Eight out of 10 bike trips occur in the city’s 14 downtown wards.
But what makes some central wards more popular among cyclists than others is not always clear. U of T researcher Trudy Ledsham (BA 2011 Woodsworth, MA 2012) says urban design and the presence of desirable destinations within the ward are important factors, but people’s values, childhood experience with cycling, social relations and recent life events can also strongly affect whether they will take up cycling.
Ledsham is a member of the Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank – a research group hosted at U of T’s School of the Environment. Another member, Emma Cohlmeyer (MA 2013), created a “cycling adoption toolkit” designed to accelerate participation in bike commuting. As their studies (and this map) show, building bike lanes is only half the battle. You have to change attitudes as well.
U of T’s 196th Birthday Quiz
Test your knowledge of all things U of T in honour of the university’s 196th anniversary on March 15!
Spreading the Gospel
A Juno Award-winning teacher wants all his students to feel there is a place for them in music
Cities Are Driving Evolution
Globally crowdsourced study shows that white clovers are biologically adapting to city life, demonstrating the profound impact of urbanization
One Response to “ Where People Pedal ”
Toronto's core lacks good, continuous bike lanes, though in some places and at some times we can see near-European levels of cycling. Former Toronto Mayor John Sewell has said that, for him, biking is now the only effective method of transport in the core.
There is a dire need to improve bike lane connectivity in Toronto. As long ago as 1992, Bloor Street was designated the best place for an east-west bike lane, yet only a tiny portion of the street made it into the Bike Plan -- and even that, between Church and Sherbourne, has still not been implemented.