Toronto

Toronto doctors call on city to add bike lanes along Danforth

More than 150 doctors in Toronto and the GTA are taking a stand for cyclists by calling on the city to extend the existing Bloor bike lanes east onto the Danforth.

Many patients 'too scared' to cycle, Dr. Samantha Green says

The advocacy group Doctors for Safe Cycling is asking the City of Toronto to add protected bike lanes to Danforth Avenue by 2020. (Doctors for Safe Cycling/Mary Gaudet)

More than 150 doctors in Toronto and the GTA are taking a stand for cyclists by calling on the city to extend the existing Bloor bike lanes east onto the Danforth.

The Doctors For Safe Cycling advocacy group will be bringing their message to city hall, where they will hold a press conference later Thursday.

"Often you'll be riding in a bike lane and the bike lane just ends — we don't do that to cars, roads don't just end," Dr. Samantha Green told CBC's Metro Morning.

The group is ultimately looking for a "network" of separated bike lanes running across the entire city, starting with the Danforth — something they want done by 2020, Green said.

A pilot project in 2016 that saw a 2.4-kilometre stretch of protected bike lanes added along Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Avenue Road has become one of the busiest bike lanes in North America. It was made permanent a year and a half ago.

There are also bike lanes running along Bloor Street East from Sherbourne Street to Broadview Avenue.

But Green said the fact that the lanes abruptly cut off at the Danforth leaves the east end with "nothing."

"There's no separated bike lane that people can take riding east-west in the east end of our city," she said, adding almost 3,000 cyclists use the Danforth daily.

Patients 'too scared' to cycle

Green is an avid cyclist who said she wants to encourage her patients to get on their bikes as a way to get healthier. Many of them tell her they're "too scared to do so."

"All of us have seen the toll that road violence has on our patients and our city," she explained, adding she recently treated a cyclist who was nearly left paralyzed after being hit by a car.

Green said separated bike lanes greatly reduce the risk of serious injury and death.

The group is hoping to speak to Mayor John Tory at the announcement on Thursday. Green said if they do, their message to him about the proposed network of bike lanes will be: "Just build it."

With files from Metro Morning