Nice article in Streetsblog:SF about how cyclists deal with streetcar tracks... Toronto is mentioned as we have some railway tracks with firm rubber flanges (that contract under the weight of a train, but not under a bicycle) and Yvonne Bambrick of the Bike Union is quoted too:
- In Toronto, where bicyclists also have to contend with a maze of tracks, several at-grade railroad crossings are equipped with a rubber flange filler that is jammed down into the cracks of trolley tracks. The rubber is firm enough that it doesn't compress when a bike passes over it, but when a streetcar comes it squishes down and doesn't cause the train to derail.
The material is not used for Toronto's extensive network of streetcar tracks in the city's core, however, and bikes routinely get caught in the tracks. "The at-grade railroad crossings do have some of that incorporated, but certainly not the main hazards to cyclists, which are the arterial road streetcar tracks," said Yvonne Bambrick, Executive Director of the Toronto Cyclists Union.
"There’s a lot of places where several tracks meet and turn. They’re trickier to navigate, but folks that have been at it for a while have figured out how to do it. It’s not that hard: you pay attention and learn how to do it, it’s all good. It does catch people fairly regularly."
Like San Francisco, Toronto is struggling to implement its bike network plan. Bambrick says that the solution to the tracks hazard should be part of that plan. "Within a network we could definitely address the issue in a site-specific kind of way," said Bambrick, "but I think if we’re just looking at roads as they are now across the city, that’s not as likely to be addressed. I think it has to be looked at in a wider sense of a dedicated cycling network."
Bicyclists must navigate a maze of tracks at Duboce and Market. Flickr photo: theoverheadwire