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Auto Know: Cycling on Lake Shore Blvd. risky, but not illegal

Published October 22, 2012
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Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.

Q: I am seeing more and more cyclists on Lake Shore Blvd. through downtown and beneath the Gardiner Expressway. I believe their use of this road is extremely dangerous as vehicles need to swerve out of the way to pass them. Is this also illegal (like riding on the DVP or Gardiner)?

More: On a right turn, who has right of way: Car or bike?

More: When cyclists turn ‘self-destructive’ on the road

A: Toronto Police Constable Clinton Stibbe replies:

There is nothing that prevents cyclists from using the roadway on Lake Shore Blvd., as long as they abide by the rules of the road.

Eric Lai adds:

Generally, cyclists are prohibited from using highways with a speed limit over 80 km/h or any road where signs are posted to this effect.

On other public roads, cyclists may occupy a driving lane (typically the right lane unless making a left turn, etc.). This is perfectly legal as long as cyclists obey all traffic laws and use proper arm signals when needed.

Drivers encountering a cyclist in their lane of travel must signal and complete a proper lane change, both out and then back into the lane, if they wish to go around the slower-moving vehicle.

Along with cyclists, other slow-moving but legal road users a motorist might encounter include equestrians, animal-drawn carriages, or livestock being led along the shoulder in rural areas.

Drivers need to take extra care in these situations as it’s an offence under S. 167 HTA to frighten an animal being led, ridden or drawing a vehicle upon a highway. For example, honking or racing past a horse-drawn carriage, causing the frightened animal to bolt.

If serious injury results from the motorist not “exercising every reasonable precaution” to prevent such an incident, criminal charges may apply.

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