Richmond-Adelaide bike lanes

The proposed bike lanes will be installed on Richmond and Adelaide going opposite directions, with additional bike lanes joining them together. (City of Toronto)

The debate over bike lanes continues as a cyclist advocacy group says that the new separated bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide are unsafe and not what they were promised by a council vote.

Bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide Streets, east-west corridors in downtown Toronto, were supposed to be separated from vehicular traffic after council voted unanimously in June to approve a "cycle track" pilot project. 

The project planned to install two bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide streets going opposite directions with additional bike lanes joining them together. 

But despite lines drawn on the road, there are no physical barriers to keep cars away from cyclists.

“It’s paint, there is no physical protection between cyclist and motor vehicles,” said Coun. Mike Layton. “When we first saw the lines going in … the expectation was that barriers would be added.”

Cycle Toronto said in a release Wednesday that while they are “pleased” to see progress on installation of the pilot project they are “deeply concerned” about the lack of physical separation.

“The repeated quotes in the media from staff of Transportation Services that separation may not be necessary are surprising and show an approach contrary to the direction Council gave which was to create a network of separated bicycle lanes in downtown Toronto,” the release read.

But the city says that the painted lines are getting the job done and are not eager to install bollards of plastic poles.

“During winter months they will be knocked over, make snow removal difficult and be difficult to clean,” said Steve Buckley with transportation services, adding that the presence of some poles will not make it safer for cyclists against passing vehicles.