How Toronto is keeping cyclists on the road, even in bad weather
Weather conditions shouldn’t put a brake on cycling. In Toronto, where winters are harsh, the city authorities make a point of properly clearing snow and salting the network of cycle lanes, setting the example for other cities hoping to encourage the uptake of cycling as a sustainable mode of transport all year round.
The City of Toronto has agreed, with the various partners responsible for clearing its roads, to ensure that cycle lanes are cleared of snow and salted to keep them usable every day, even in snowy and icy conditions.
Surprisingly, this is the first year that this effort has been formally agreed upon. For a long time, cyclists were given a rough ride by the weather, as well as by the companies responsible for clearing the city’s roads, which usually pushed snow to the side, and so on to cycle lanes, when clearing the way for cars and public transport.
This change in attitude towards cyclists is a sign of the times in the city, where local authorities added 40 kilometers to the city’s cycling network in 2020 alone. Now, these bike lanes will be correctly cleared of snow and salted daily. All road users will therefore be able to continue getting around, in winter, as in the rest of the year, no matter the weather conditions.
Still, in wintry weather, cyclists should be sure to take extra care (slippery manhole covers, pedestrian crossings, etc.) and adapt their speed to the road conditions, even if that means increasing journey times. Braking distances will also be longer. JB
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