As the weather has finally started to reflect the season, more people are venturing outside for either a socially distanced appropriate walk or bike ride. So much so that there has been a huge surge in bike sales, with a Toronto bike shop stating they haven’t seen this kind of demand in over 20 years!
Typically this time of year would mark the kickoff of Bike Month, beginning with Toronto Bike to Work Day. Under current circumstances, these events have been delayed until September 2020.
The fact that we can’t physically gather for the time being doesn’t mean that we can’t cycle-on, and Toronto has been doing just that! Car traffic has been down by 55% from March 23 to May 15 while cycling has risen by 20%, and growing as the weather improves.
Regardless of what the trends are saying, should you still be riding your bike? The answer is Yes! As Toronto and the rest of the province has begun reopening, Toronto Public Health’s message has shifted some of its focus to inform people that you can enjoy the outdoors, while still being mindful of physical distancing. Conveniently a bike is roughly 2 metres long (the recommended physical distance), which means that you can finally leave that ruler at home.
Cycling is an excellent form of transport because it’s a valuable form of exercise while also reducing emissions. Approximately 38% of Toronto’s overall greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, with 80% of that produced by personal vehicles alone. Increased investing in cycling infrastructure has been a target to help achieve Toronto’s 2050 goal, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.
Bike share Toronto offers 24/7 access to 5,000 bikes across the city, and if you didn’t know, UHN employees can save on the annual membership! To get more information, check out the UHN coorporate intranet page.
Speaking of biking at UHN, where can you park your bike? Whether you ride to work on a road or tandem bike (only with someone from your household of course), bicycle parking across UHN is detailed on the Energy & Environment intranet page here. If you can’t access the link or have any other questions, contact UHNcycling@uhn.ca.
If you haven’t already considered biking to work as an option, or even thought about going out for a joy-ride, you might change your mind when you hear this exciting news. Toronto has approved 40 km of brand new bike lanes, tracks and trails, which is the largest expansion of the on-street bike network in a year!
The first of the new installations will be a cycle track through University Avenue’s hospital district, from Adelaide to Bloor Street. This route alone will provide 15 kilometres of cycle tracks ready for the bicycle commuters. If you’re curious where the other new lanes will be emerging, a list of the new routes can be found here.
To keep encouraging people in getting some fresh air safely, CurbTO and ActiveTO are helping to keep physical distancing outdoors possible while still being able to get around the city. So you can walk, run, rollerblade or bike while still respecting the guidelines, for more details on exact road closures click here.
This summer is going to be different, but that doesn’t have to stop you. Enjoy the outdoors, reduce your carbon footprint and roll on.