In a recent jaunt to London (England), Torontoist saw colours on the road. No, these weren’t hallucinations brought on by too much ale at the local pub. The colours were those of lanes on the street: red for public transit vehicles and green for bikes. (And in case you’re wondering, bikes can use the public transit lanes.) The message? If you’re in a car, stay out of them.
Toronto already has bike and transit lanes, but they’re relatively rare. And as any TTC rider or cyclist can tell you, cars don’t always seem to obey them and the police don’t always seem to enforce them.
Contrast that to London, where cars are happy—even if that’s not entirely the right word—to remain stuck in long traffic queues while buses and bikes whip past.
Naturally, colouring our existing lanes isn’t the final answer. Our city needs more dedicated bike and transit lanes (like the Tooker) and better enforcement of the lanes that already exist. And in an ideal scenario, we’d build physical barriers between these lanes and cars in order to further improve safety.
But colours are a start. In the same way that a crosswalk with flashing lights is better than a crosswalk without them, a coloured transit or bike lane is better than one in boring old black or grey asphalt. From the psychological standpoint of a car driver, straying into a coloured lane just seems so much worse.
Photo by Robin Rix