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Things You Should Know Before Cycling in Toronto

Cycling in Toronto

Things You Should Know Before Cycling in Toronto

Toronto has been committed to making itself bike-friendly for a long time, with its first bike lanes installed in 1974. There are over 7,100 bicycles and 680 stations in the Bike Share Toronto system, which covers over 200 square kilometres of the city. 

Planning to explore the city through cycling? We’ve listed some tips to help you survive your ride through the busy streets of Toronto.

Things You Should Know Before Cycling in Toronto

Always wear proper safety equipment

From: @jesse_helmer

You probably want to get from point A to point B as fast as you can, but safety should always be the top priority. You’ll be on the streets with cars, buses, and trucks, so it’s best to protect yourself from any potential threats. 

A good helmet and some padding can go a long way. Your vision is your best friend when riding, so appropriate eyewear is also recommended especially if you have sensitive eyes.

Be wary of streetcars

From: @marcusbgee

Always yield to streetcars, they carry a lot of passengers and they always have the right of way. They also have blind spots, so make sure you ride slowly when you’re near one to avoid unwanted collisions. 

Streetcars use bells and signals to warn pedestrians and cyclists of their presence, so pay attention so you know how to react and manoeuvre around them. 

Obey all traffic laws

From: @MattPinder1

Bicycles are considered vehicles in Toronto, which means you have to obey all traffic laws that apply to other standard vehicles. 

Set a good example and follow all traffic signals and signs. Doing so also makes your movement on the road more predictable.

As a cyclist, you’re not immune to fines, so follow all the rules to avoid being reprimanded by the authorities. 

Don’t ride on the sidewalk

From: @g_meslin

Since bicycles are considered vehicles, it’s only right that you never ride on the sidewalk. It’s dangerous not only to yourself but also to pedestrians who might not be aware of your presence. 

Use hand signals to indicate your intentions

From: @vingofit

Bikes don’t have turn signals, so you have to rely on your hands when communicating with other motorists. Learn basic hand signals so you can effectively indicate your intentions on the road and avoid unnecessary tension with other riders. 

Be mindful of street corners

From: @evboyce

Downtown Toronto can be busy, especially during peak hours, so expect the streets to be crawling with cars of different sizes. Always slow down before street corners, and check if there are incoming vehicles. 

Trucks and buses have limited vision, and cyclists can be easy to miss, so it’s better to give them the right of way when you encounter them on street corners. 

Tread carefully in underpasses 

From: @VikPahwa

Underpasses are tighter and darker than other roads, so be careful when entering them with your bike. You’ll have to know how to manoeuvre in this limited space while being close to other vehicles. 

Use lights at night

From: @Toronto

Toronto streets will still have vehicles at night, so it’s important that they can see you on the road to avoid accidents. Attach a working light to your bike or wear a reflective vest so cars can easily see you from afar. 

Familiarize yourself with optimal bike routes 

From: @jacoobaloo

It’s better to familiarize yourself with optimal bike routes before you hit the road; it saves you time and keeps you from getting lost. Here are some of the best biking trails you can try depending on your destination:

  • Martin Goodman Waterfront Trail
  • Wilket Creek Trail
  • Humber River Recreational Trail
  • Toronto Islands Trail
  • James Gardens Trail

To find the best route for you, you can use Toronto’s cycling network map or a cycling app like Strava to guide you through your journey.

Have a go-to bike repair shop

From: @YCCNV

Maintaining your bike lowers the risks of it malfunctioning while you’re on the road and it’s best you know about nearby repair shops. Here are some of the best bike repair shops in the city:

  • Cyclemania – 281 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
  • Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop – 1204 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N2
  • The Bike Place – 3113 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Z9
  • Urbane Cyclist – 280 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1R9
  • Velotique – 1592 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1G1

FAQs on Cycling in Toronto