Press Release: Major increase in Torontonians biking to work: up to 34% in some neighbourhoods

Cyclists on bathurst street

Rates of biking to work are up throughout city centre

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2017

TORONTO — The latest census maps from Statistics Canada show that biking to work rates are up city-wide as well as at the neighbourhood level in both the city core and suburbs, according to a new report from Cycle Toronto.

Comparing 2016 to 2006 data, there is evidence of significant growth in pockets across the city, with biking to work mode share as high as 34% in neighbourhoods like Cabbagetown and the Annex. Throughout the downtown core, we are seeing rates of cycling exceeding 20% - data which is not captured when we look at the city-wide rate of 3%.

People are also biking to work in pockets outside of the core, including neighbourhoods like New Toronto to the west, York University to the north, and Agincourt to the east, which all have rates of over 5%. These neighbourhoods all have some cycling infrastructure - for example, Agincourt has a new 12km trail system (the North Scarborough Green Loop) connecting schools, parks, malls, and other destinations, which indicates a relationship between cycling mode share and presence of cycling facilities.

Cycle Toronto believes there is a set of push-pull factors that explain why more people are riding more often.

  • Convenience: More than 50% of all trips in Toronto are less than 5 km in length which are considered easily bikeable.

  • Freedom: Driving a car and taking transit during rush hour can be frustrating (to put it lightly) whereas cycling offers convenience, reliable travel times, health benefits, and a sense of freedom and joy compelling more people to switch to cycling.

  • Predictability: Counter to the narrative that cycling is only viable in the core, there is evidence that people across the city are choosing to cycle - especially noteworthy in parts of the city with unreliable transit service.

What’s missing, however, is a safe network of high quality protected bike lanes and low speed residential routes. Toronto’s 10-year Cycling Network Plan (CNP) includes a proposed minimum grid network of protected bike lanes on main streets, low speed bikeways on quiet streets, and multi-use trails. The CNP was approved by Toronto City Council in June 2016; however, consideration of all new Major Corridor Studies for protected bike lanes on main streets was deferred until after the 2018 election.

“The City’s network of protected bike lanes is small and largely limited to the downtown core where we see the largest uptake of cycling,” said Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto.“Considering the Province’s exciting announcement today to more than double the money available to build high quality commuter cycling infrastructure, we need to see action from Toronto City Hall to ensure infrastructure keeps up with demand.”

NOTE: 2016 and 2006 statistics reflect the percentage of the population that list cycling as their primary mode of transportation to work. This data does not necessarily capture people who cycle to transit or for other purposes than commuting - the numbers could be even higher.



Jared Kolb, Executive Director, Cycle Toronto (416) 644-7188

Read the full report from Cycle Toronto.


By sarah bradley on Dec 04, 2017