Join us for our final Ring & Post for 2023 as we discuss the Cycling Network Plan, a rally to keep Yonge Street safe, and riding all winter long. See you in 2024!
Table of Contents
- Message from the Executive Director
- 2025-2027 Cycling Network Plan
- Yonge Rally Success
- Bike Share Updates
- Some of the Projects We’re Fighting For in 2024
- BikeMatch Program by Women’s Cycling Network
- Winter Riding Tips
- Just for Fun: Breaking the Ice
- In the Media
- Social Media Spotlight
- Bike Brigade Workshop
- Critical Mass Ride
- Coldest Day of the Year Ride
Message from the Executive Director
This December we’ve been sharing stories from Cycle Toronto members who support our work not because they ride bikes, but because they wish they felt safe enough to do so. With your support this holiday season, we can create new cyclists together.
Cycle Toronto relies on the support of people like you who want to help to create more cyclists. When more people choose to bike, our collective voice grows louder, and our vision of making Toronto a safer city for cycling for everyone becomes a reality.
Thank you for being a part of an incredible 2023. Let’s make 2024 the year Toronto begins realising its potential.
2025-2027 Cycling Network Plan
To ensure Toronto meets its road safety and climate action goals, Cycle Toronto calling on the city to deliver these three priorities for the next expansion of bikeways:
- Accelerate completing the remaining ~280 km of the Major-City Wide Cycling Routes by 2030 by building at least 150 km between 2025-2027 (or more than 50 km a year)
- Build connections and close gaps in our cycling existing network to make it more usable by more people
- Construct Complete Streets by default by bundling cycling infrastructure with all road rehabilitation projects for the safety of all road users
Back in 2014 Olivia Chow proposed building 50 km of bikeways a year over four years. That’s the scale of vision and leadership urgently needed today. Now is the time to move forward.
(Map of major city-wide cycling routes.)
Cycle Toronto remains committed to its campaigns including along Bloor St./Danforth Ave., Yonge St., connecting Thorncliffe-Flemingdon Park, and connecting Scarborough. Furthermore, to fully promote our multi-modal transportation future, the city must create more safe cycling connections to busy transit routes, GO stations, and especially to Union Station. Finally, we’ve urged the city to listen to the feedback of our supporters like you to close the local gaps in their own neighbourhoods.
Stay tuned for more updates on how you can help realise Toronto’s potential to be an outstanding cycling city for everyone.
The last month of 2023 saw us continue our work to ensure our growing cycling network is usable for everyone year round and improve the safety and accessibility of construction zones for people on bikes and all vulnerable road users.
Protecting the Yonge Street Bike Lanes
One of our biggest successes of 2023 was seeing the bike lanes on Yonge St in midtown made permanent. It was a hard fought advocacy campaign that was more than a decade in the making and involved thousands of hours of work from our community of supporters.
Less than a year after this victory, we were surprised to recently learn about a construction request to close the west sidewalk, the southbound bike lane, and the northbound bike lane on Yonge St just south of St Clair Ave for as long as 35 months! We mobilized our supporters and organized a bike rally down Yonge St followed by a press conference at City Hall in advance of the council meeting.
(Cycle Toronto and partners hold a press conference at City Hall.)
We are pleased to report that Councillor Matlow will be sending this item back to IEC and that he has confirmed the developer will not be closing the bike lane. We look forward to following this item in the new year.
Bike Share Becomes More Equitable
Bike Share’s pricing system was made more equitable in December. Residents of Toronto Community Housing (THCH) can now apply for an annual membership for just $5 (THCH market residents can receive a 20% discount) and recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can gain access to their e-fleet without additional fees.
An annual membership can now be purchased and paid for in three installments ($35 for the 30-minute membership and $40 for the 45-minute membership). This will make the program more accessible to those that can’t afford to pay the annual membership in a lump sum.
(Bike Share bikes wait for a winter rider to take one for a ride. Photo credit: Bike Share)
Some of the Projects We’re Fighting For in 2024
With the recent election of a new councillor in Scarborough Southwest, Cycle Toronto looks forward to working with newly elected Parthi Kandavel, local community advocates and city staff to see the successful implementation of this critical cycling infrastructure to connect Scarborough.
(The current state of Kingston Road in Scarborough. Photo credit: City of Toronto)
This project is expected to come to both IEC and Council in March 2024, pending the handover of the project from Metrolinx.
This project has been in the works since 2012 having been identified in the Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and included as a priority in the 2019 Cycling Network Plan Update. After a long standoff, the Province has finally provided the City with approval to advance the project with the requirement of two additional studies during detailed design that must be provided to the Ministry prior to commencing construction. We’re looking forward to supporting this long overdue piece of infrastructure for the Weston community.
BikeMatch Program by Women’s Cycling Network
Even as we settle into the winter months, the demand for bikes does not waver. The Women’s Cycling Network is still accepting bike donations for their Bike Match program, built to match bikes with families who need them. The Bike Match program works with partner bike hubs across the city, including organizations like Scarborough Cycles, Gateway Bike Hub, Bikes for Climate Hub in Rexdale, and CultureLink Bike Hub. To learn more about the program, click the link below. To make a bike donation, you can contact any of the partner hubs listed on the website and drop off your bikes there.
(A BikeMatch poster. Image credit: BikeMatch)
Winter Riding Tips
Although we’ve been spared from cold weather so far this winter, frigid temperatures are inevitably around the corner. The colder and darker days we experience this time of year are no reason to put away your bike, however. Cycling through the winter can be enjoyable, relaxing, and fun. Getting an extra bit of exercise can help get you through the darkest and coldest days, getting you to work or home feeling refreshed and revived.
It can be difficult sometimes to ride in the winter, but there are a few things which can help make it easier. Head to our site for some tips on winter cycling and be better prepared to ride this winter.
(A man rides his bike on a snowy day. Photo credit: Spacing.)
Just for Fun: Breaking the Ice
With a full schedule of holiday get-togethers on the horizon, what better time than now to brush up on our small talk. So, today, we’re going to talk about the weather.
Anonymous internet commenters often dubiously claim that Toronto's climate makes it impossible to ride a bike for 6, 7, 8, or even 9 months a year. In this month’s Just for Fun, we try to figure out how many months a year the average Toronto cyclist puts their bike away due to cold or snowy weather.
Social Media Spotlight
Can’t get enough Cycle Toronto content? As we near the end of this month’s Ring & Post, you may find yourself already yearning for more. Although our newsletter is monthly, we post on our social media channels daily. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter / X, or TikTok to stay up-to-date on Cycle Toronto news and events. Here are some highlights from this month:
(A post lamenting the loss of ActiveTO on our Instagram account. Click image to see original post.)
(A new video essay on bike parking on our TikTok account. Click image to see original post.)
In the Media
A year-end interview with Mayor Olivia Chow | Spacing Toronto
Impact des fermertures de rue sur les pistes cyclable à Toronto | Radio-Canada (clips at 15:33 et 17:25)
Coldest day of the Year Ride: Save the Date - February 10, 2024
Stay tuned for more information on the Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2024!
Critical Mass Ride on December 29, 2023
For those of you looking for a joyful festive ride before ringing in the New Year, join Critical Mass.
What: December Critical Mass Ride
When: 6:15 PM - Friday, December 29, 2023
Where: Matt Cohen Park, 385 Bloor St W (Southeast corner of Bloor St W and Spadina Ave)
(A photo from the Critical Mass Ride, Halloween 2023).
Please note: Critical Mass is an autonomous event created by the community for the community for cyclists. It is not a Cycle Toronto hosted event.
An Evening with Bike Brigade
We were so happy to collaborate with the Bike Brigade earlier this December to inform cyclists about winter riding. Riding in the winter can be fun, and all you need is the right clothing and equipment to get started. Special thanks to the Bike Brigade team for organizing a fun social event, followed by a workshop hosted by our experienced cycling educators. Thanks to Rick and Camryn for leading a great and informative workshop!
The Bike Brigade is always looking for more volunteers to help address food insecurity. Sign up to learn more.
If you’d like to get in touch with us regarding hosting a winter cycling workshop, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll make sure to get back to you.