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Spotted: Colourful Cycling “Conflict Zones”

Parts of the Bloor East bike lanes are going green.

bike lanes

SPOTTED BY: Hayley Easto, from Biking Toronto.

WHERE: Bloor East, between Sherbourne and the Bloor Viaduct.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 3

WHAT: The City has decided that old-fashioned pavement-coloured bike lanes aren’t always good enough for Toronto’s cyclists. Road crews are painting certain “conflict zones”—areas where cars and bikes frequently interfere with one another—this attractive shade of green. For the time being, the experiment will be restricted to parts of Bloor Street East near Parliament Street and the viaduct off-ramp, and also bits of Wellesley Street. (And, of course, Sherborne Street has had bright-green bike boxes since last year.)

Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to


  • Professor Polymath

    This is excellent. This is a particularly nerve-wracking stretch to ride through. More!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Yesss, excellent! More!

    These are obviously good for alerting drivers—but they’re also good for keeping cyclists on course:

    For many, it’s understandably frightening to boldly strike a course across the “middle” of an intersection, like you’re expected to do here. Even in normal, 90°, four-way intersections (think Bloor & Bathurst), I see so many people veer right across the right turn/parking lane, to the curb, and even as far as the crosswalk, before veering left back into the travel lane on the far side of the intersection.

    That last part (getting back into one’s lane) is dangerous, because one is moving at an angle to traffic and it’s hard for drivers to anticipate, if they’re even paying attention. One could wind up pasted against the rear left of the first parked car. Because they embolden cyclists to take a straight line through the intersection, these green boxes encourage safe riding behaviour.

  • tomwest

    It would be ncie if all bike lanes why like this all the way

  • mdouble

    Any thing that alerts drivers to cyclists, and makes cyclists more aware of danger areas is a good thing. The ony question for me is how durable these markings will be over time. Wear and tear, ice and snow could cause them to fade.

    In the 1970′s I worked briefly for the Borough of Etobicoke developing a cycling program called Etobikeo. Yes i know it’s a corny name, but somehow it worked. The club would organize public cycling tours to places outside the city like conservation areas in the Caledon Hill, for example.

    Occasionally we’d also organize tours into downtown Toronto, generally on weekends. Even when the downtown core was virtual empty of traffic, the challenges for cycling there were still very obvious. City streets are simply not designed with bikes in mind. For those who use bikes as a primary means of transportation getting around without getting killed is often a matter of luck balanced by skill and experience. Any lapse in judgement on the part of the cyclist could end in a fall, or a collison.

    If Toronto is ever going to be truely cycling friendly the city needs to make it a high priority. In fariness, I am aware of some of the other things being done around the city to improve cycling, and I applaud everyone. I sincerely hope Toronto will in time become a world class city for cyclists, on par with New York.