I was riding in the bike lane on Toronto's Harbord Street last week during the afternoon rush hour and thought boy, there sure are a lot of bikes, so many that I stopped to take a photo of them. It turns out that this wasn't an aberration, but a significant trend. Cycle Toronto recently did a traffic count and found that in the course of a day, fully 45% of the vehicles on Harbord Street were bicycles. during the evening peak of rush hour, when the streets are jammed with cars, 36% of the vehicles were bikes.
This is a street not unlike others in Toronto, where cars and delivery vehicles commonly use the bike lane as their ATM drive-through, it is almost always blocked at Spadina Avenue like this.
This is a street where people like Sam James have to put up polite signs to keep people from blocking the lane in front of his shop.
It's a street where tactical urbanists had to embarrass the city into fixing the road that was so rough your teeth would rattle.
Mayor Rob Ford can complain about bike lanes all he wants but the fact is, when you start hitting numbers like 45% everyone has to pay attention, these are serious numbers. Bikes have become a major part of the transportation system whether he likes it or not.