How to Use a Bike Box – City of Toronto PSA

Nice heels on the woman riding the white bike with the front rack! Certainly would be approved by my girlfriend.

Via Cyclometer November Newsletter


  1. Generally cars should enter the bike lane to turn right, but apparently not where there’s a bike box. I guess that’s really good in some ways, and something to be fairly jubilant about.

    Does anyone else think that a bike box treatment might have been useful at the intersection of Harbord and Ossington? (Particularly at the north and west entrances.)

  2. Good thing we all have our helmets on! I’m just off my training wheels too, I always wear my helmet and elblow pads. You never know when you could just fall off that bike! hehehe

    @Ben Cars should never enter the bike lane.

  3. @J-H Actually cars can enter the bikelane to turn right… you’ll notice that bikelane line turns into a dotted line near intersections, allowing cars to cross it.

  4. Ben’s right, the bike lanes with dashes near an intersection are designed so that cars enter them before making a right turn. Cyclists can either enter the lane and pass on the cars left, or wait until the way is clear. It’s certainly not a perfect system, but that’s how it is currently in Toronto. Bike boxed intersections are the only exception to this, although I still see drivers using them as turning lanes.

    Also, Ben, about Harbord and Ossington, a bike box certainly should have been added there. The sharrows on Harbord, placed in the middle of the right-most lane, I believe, are for cyclists making right turns to keep them out of the right hook zone. Although I’m also certain many may also think the sharrowed lane is where cyclists should be for left turns, which is both against the HTA and a bad idea.

  5. I agree, a bike box would be helpful at Ossington/Harbord. That said, I find that as intesections go, that one isn’t too bad to make a left turn from. Drivers usually let me merge right in to the left turn lane and are pretty patient as I don’t have to wait for oncoming traffic to clear before moving and they can use the left lane while I use the right once we’re all on Ossington.

    I’m not that much of a fan of Ossington, though. I always turn right at the next intersection to go where I’m going. I prefer Dovercourt for my north/south travels in that area.

  6. No bike boxes on my route, but I’d like to comment on the right turn across the bike lane. I’ve experienced it from both perspectives many times, and it’s definitely best for cars to move into the bike lane and totally block the right-side passage of bikes while waiting for pedestrians or whatever. As a cyclist, if you can’t go around on the left, you should definitely not be trying to scoot up the right side of a right-turning car to go straight (it gets a bit tricky when the cyclist wants to turn right too, and cars should leave a gap on the right when in a right turn lane, as cyclists should not be going straight from there). What drivers should not do is charge in front of moving bikes to turn right, requiring the cyclists to execute full-on emergency braking manoeuvres, back wheel in the air, as I’ve had to do on several occasions (the driveway to the underground parking on Simcoe south of Front has got to be the worst spot for this). If you don’t have room to change lanes into the bike lane comfortably, then you don’t pass the bike at all. I’ve been right-hooked several times, and I will not ever pass a car on the right that’s sitting outside the bike lane with the right turn signal on, trusting that they’ve seen me. From the driver’s perspective, it’s just too much to ask.

    Bikes: If you’re going straight, don’t pass right-turning cars on the right. Be reasonable on letting cars into the bike lane to turn, we’re all just trying to get somewhere.
    Cars: If you’re turning right, try to clear before the bikes get there at all, or make it easy to go around on the left, or stay behind the bike to allow it to clear. If there are lots of bikes, do exactly what you would do if there were a row of cars there, by proceeding slowly with the turn signal on until someone lets you in.

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