Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens

Update:  see previous posts – July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009 Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”               

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You see cyclists using the sidewalks all the time.  You can’t get upset when you see children using the sidewalk with smaller bicycles, because Toronto designed their by-laws to accommodate that type of situation.

But when adults, with wheel bases larger than 61 cm’s or 24 inches are flying along the sidewalk, in some cases ringing their bell to warn you to get out of the way or risk injury – that is an altogether situation.

When you ask them why they are not travelling on the road, they tell you that they fear for their safety and for that reason, they have decided to ride on the sidewalk, where it is safer for them. But only for them.

In some cases, they are riding on the road until the light turns red, and then suddenly, they move from the road to the sidewalk, putting pedestrians at risk.  Not all cyclists subscribe to this irresponsible behaviour and in fact, most follow the rules of the road and Toronto’s by-laws.

When cyclists don’t follow these simple  rules, the same rules that motor vehicles and pedestrians are expected to follow, then avoidable accidents transpire.

The Star has found that cyclists ignore the signs that ban cycling on the sidewalks of Kew Gardens and that the signs have no deterrent value.

According to the Star, cyclists always have an excuse for their sins: failing to stop for red lights, riding too close and too fast to pedestrians or going the wrong way on one-way streets, to name a few.

Cyclist riding bicycle on sidewalk with one hand, while using cellphone.

Why stop for a red light if no one is coming, when they’ll lose momentum and have to start pedaling from a standing stop?

Kew Gardens is dissected by two sidewalks that run between Queen St. E. and the bike path adjacent to the beaches boardwalk, which is heavily used by cyclists.

The Star went  there late Wednesday afternoon and watched the sidewalks at the south end of the park, to see if the “no cycling on sidewalks” signs have any impact.

The Star counted 19 people riding past the signs in an hour, and those were only the ones we could see; much of the park was obscured from our vantage point.

The two-sided signs refer to a bylaw that prohibits riding on the sidewalk, which amused one cyclist and a female friend who shot photos with her cellphone camera of him riding in front of it.

A few of the riders were kids, which we can excuse, but several older riders whipped along at a rapid clip while passing people on the sidewalk.

Cyclists defend their use of sidewalks by saying it’s too dangerous to ride on the road, but they are the traffic to fear in Kew Gardens.



A cyclist rides past a sign that says a city bylaw prohibits cycling on sidewalks in Kew Gardens, which extends from the south side of Queen St. E. to the beachfront boardwalk. JACK LAKEY/TORONTO STAR




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