“Cycling is very effective in promoting good physical and mental health, and it’s infrastructure like protected lanes that makes widespread bike use possible.”
Toronto physicians from Doctors for Safe Cycling wrote a commentary in the Opinion section of the Toronto Star on August 11, 2017, where they advocate for the need to not only build the cycling network in Toronto but to increase the number of bike lanes that protect cyclists from cars by a physical barrier.
Time and again, evidence shows that protected bike lanes increase ridership, have a lower injury rate, and fewer crashes or fatalities. People feel safer when they cycle in a protected lane.
Hamilton’s Cannon Cycle Track is an excellent protected bike lane that is family-friendly and enables residents to commute safely from both the east and west ends of our City. But so far, it’s the only cycle track we have in Hamilton.
There are many other routes in the City that are designated bike lanes, but the lack of physical barriers makes it less safe and increases the vulnerability of those who cycle. As the authors point out: “But that means more than just painting lines on the pavement. It means creating lanes in which cyclists are physically separated from automobiles by “flexi-posts”, raised curbs or planters“.
While the City of Hamilton continues to implement its Cycling Master Plan, we need strong advocates for physically separated bike lanes in order to support community needs, increase safety and overall ridership, and to develop infrastructure solutions.