Toronto to Plough Bike Paths This Winter
Davenport Road, early 2008. Note the "bicycle lane" and "snow route" sign, which warns citizens that cars need to be moved to keep the road clear. Note also that the bike lane is completely buried.
To any Dane or Swede, that headline would be completely silly; it is expected that such an important part of the transportation infrastructure would be maintained year round. But in Toronto, cyclists are second or third class citizens when it comes to the plough.
Now City Council is looking at a making "special efforts" to keep some major bike lanes clear of snow. The commenters in the papers went nuts:"NO taxpayers should not pay to clear cycle paths in winter. Use some common sense! The sidewalks and side streets should be first priority after main streets and highways."
In Denmark, they have special ploughs to keep the streets clear, and you don't have people complaining that "Riding a bicycle in the winter? Make sure your life insurance is paid up. It's sheer idiocy!"- you clear the roads and then it is not idiocy, it is transportation.
I wonder what they would do in Denmark if someone parked like this in a bike lane.
Back in Toronto, Yvonne Bambrick, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Cyclists Union, a lobby group, praised the city for pledging to clear routes with cyclists in mind."This is my fifth winter riding," Ms. Bambrick said. "It's definitely doable." More in Globe and MailMore on winter biking in TreeHuggerWinter Biking Isn't So BadRide Your Bike All Winter (Part I)Ride Your Bike All Winter (Part II)