News / Toronto

'Phenomenal success:' Group finds average of 6,000 riders use Bloor bike lanes a day

The numbers come as cyclists wait for the city's official tally, which will be released, along with staff recommendations on whether the lanes should stay or go, in October.

Cyclists ride westbound on Bloor Street cycling lane, near St. George Street.

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Cyclists ride westbound on Bloor Street cycling lane, near St. George Street.

The Bloor bike lanes are being used by an average of more than 6,000 riders a day, according to a count done by Bells on Bloor ahead of a decision on the pilot project's future.

The advocacy group mounted a camera on top of a building for a week in mid-September and had volunteers manually count the number of riders. They found more than 30,000 cyclists used the lanes over a five-day period — more than 6,000 every day except Friday, when there was missing data from a power failure. That's about double the city's pre-lane count of 3,300 a day.

"It shows us the phenomenal success of the bike lanes," said Albert Koehl with Bells on Bloor. "If safety is the question, then bike lanes are the answer."

The numbers come as cyclists wait for the city's official tally and the impact on driving times, which will be released, along with staff recommendations on whether the lanes should stay or go, in October.

According to a city count last fall, the number of cyclists increased 36 per cent after 2.5 km of bike lanes between Shaw Street and Avenue Road were installed in August of that year. About eight and a half minutes were also added to peak afternoon driving time.

Coun. Joe Cressy, whose ward the bike lanes pass through, said he can't yet comment on city counts but has heard and seen that the bike lanes are "exceptionally popular."

An October 2016 Forum Research poll found about 70 per cent of Torontonians support the bike lanes.

Cressy added that since the city's initial count, staff have done work on signal re-timing to bring down driving times. While the lanes are "not perfect" and still need some improvements, he calls them a success.

The executive director of Cycle Toronto, Jared Kolb, called the numbers "staggering."

"Imagine if this bike lane ran from High Park to the east end. Imagine the kinds of numbers we'd see," he said.

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