Trail Etiquette

Cyclists and pedestrians must safely share the trail. Here are tips for user comfort.

City of Brampton has prepared these tips. “Brampton is a HEALTHY and SAFE city”.

Cyclists: 

  1. Pass to the left
  2. Keep speed low
  3. Be careful around children and groups
  4. Be courteous
  5. Ring bell or yell

Pedestrians:

  1. Do not block the path
  2. Watch for other users
  3. Stay to the right of the path
  4. Dogs must be on a leash

Cyclists Ride Safely


Ring your bell or call out

It’s the law in Ontario to have a bell or horn!

Slow down and ring the bell well in advance of pedestrians so they have time to move to the right of the path. If they don’t appear to hear, ring it again and call out “passing on your left”. You don’t want people startled or to jump out in front of the bike.

Our trails meander through ravines with ‘blind’ corners. If you can’t see around the bend, ring your bell to warn pedestrians you are coming.

If you don’t have a bell, check out Brampton Bike Hub or Caledon Bike Hub for information on our BikeWrx Pop-up Café schedule (as per COVID-19 restrictions). A limited number of FREE bells will be available, compliments of Region of Peel Walk and Roll.

Watch your Speed

Recreational Trail speeds in Brampton are 8 km/hr!

If you are an experienced cyclist, you need to ride very slowly on the trails.

If you want to cycle faster, select a road to your comfort level. Brampton has roads with lower volumes of traffic and many new bike lanes. Check your route on Google maps to select a route to your liking. Check Brampton Trail Maps and Bike Routes.

If you are a newer or less confident cyclist, consider registering for our FREE Pedalwise program.

Pedestrians have the Right of Way

You must slow down and yield to pedestrians. They are the most vulnerable trail and road users.

No Littering!

Deposit your waste in the City’s garbage cans along the trail. If your waste is recyclable, do the right thing by taking it home to your own recycling bin. Let’s keep Brampton green and clean!

Other Useful Cycling Safety Tips

BikeBrampton displays Trail User Safety

BikeBrampton members display City of Brampton’s Trail User Safety poster at BikeWrx Pop-up Café in Chinguacousy Park, 2020.


Lock your bike securely

Prevent bike theft by locking your bike frame and front wheel securely. Note your serial number and register with police.

As the days get longer and warmer, we will be riding more frequently and longer distances. Bikes are a valuable commodity, especially during the pandemic. They are hard to find at any price and must be protected. Here are some tips for you to consider. Do you have the right lock to protect your property?

Bike Security Tips:

  1. Take a photo of your bike and serial number – store in a safe place
  2. Serial number is located on the underside of the bottom bracket of the frame. It is engraved into the frame.
  3. Register your bike. If you live in Brampton or Mississauga, register your bike with this link: crime prevention bike serial number registration – then click on ‘Cycling’, then click on ‘Bike Registry’. It appears like this is a form to report a stolen bike, but just fill out the form and keep going. This is the correct form!
  4. Attach the registration sticker you receive in the mail.

Peel police bike registration

If your bike is stolen, report to Police immediately.

You can also search this federal website for your bike: Canadian Police Information Centre – Search by Serial Number

Bike Locking Steps:

  1. All bike locks can eventually be removed. The trick is to slow down the thief with quality and quantity, and make it more difficult.
  2. Lock your bike in a visible, well-lit high-traffic area.
  3. If there are secure bike parking facilities, use them.
  4. Lock the frame and at least the front wheel. Lock the back wheel if possible.
  5. Use multiple locks of the best quality and the thickest you can afford.
  6. Lock to a secure immovable post or rack (not the weak links in a chain link fence!)
  7. Keep the lock(s) off the ground so the thief cannot smash with a hammer.
  8. If bike components and bags cannot be secured, remove them and carry with you. A small light-weight back pack or attachable shoulder strap is helpful.
  9. If your lock comes with keys, keep a spare at home. If it comes with a combination lock, store the combo in the password file on your phone!

Bike Locks:

Select locks that are more difficult to cut/grind. An opportunist bike thief will typically carry 36″ bolt cutter, cable/wire cutter, hack-saw, hammer and maybe a crowbar. If you use a good quality U-lock or cable lock, they will likely move on to a bike that is easier to steal. Even inexpensive bikes are routinely targeted.

The professional bike thief will also carry a more powerful 42″ bolt cutter, portable angle grinder and bottle jack that will remove any lock if they have enough time. Quality bikes may be stolen to order!

U-Lock:

U-locks are relatively light, and easy to fasten. They are awkward to carry in your bag. If you use a mounting bracket, check frequently, as it can come loose. Make sure you the lock does not interfere with your riding safety if it hangs or mounts on your bike frame. Low quality U-locks or thin soft metal can be removed with a hacksaw. Selecting a U-lock with a looped cable extends the reach from front to back wheel.

Bike U-lock Bike U-lock with loop cable   TTC bike parking u-locks 

This commuter bike was locked at the subway station using 3 U-locks from different points to the one post! This would make for a heavy ride, but more security when the bike is left at the station for the day.

Portable Chain:

These are heavier than U-locks and their length means you can lock more parts of the bike to the rack. You can even lock a couple of bikes together. Their weight will slow you down, especially important for a longer commute. You can select a Stationary chain with even more weight, for locking at home or at work. They are considered too heavy for transporting during the commute.

Portable chain lock

Folding Lock:

Lighter weight and more portable than U-locks, a folding lock is best for short stops and low to medium risk areas. Some have joints that cannot be drilled out and are difficult to cut with bolt cutters. No problem for angle grinders…

Foldylock for bikes

Cable Lock:

Sadly, these locks can be cut in seconds by thieves using wire/cable cutters. They are inexpensive and lightweight. They really are a minor deterence.

cable lock

Get the best lock(s) that you can afford given the weight that you can manage!

 

Reference:

  1. thebestbikelock.com

 


Why we can’t bike in winter

Why Canadians Can’t Bike in the Winter

Not Just Bikes video below shows clearly why most Canadians (Bramptonians) don’t bike in winter and how we could. Well worth the watch!

“When talking about bicycle infrastructure in Canada, the number one excuse I hear is “winter.” Many Canadians see the cold and snow as a fundamental barrier to year round cycling. But one city, Oulu in Finland, with winter weather worse than most Canadian cities, shows that winter cycling has nothing to do with the weather, and everything to do with safe cycling infrastructure. Want to learn more about winter cycling? Every February, the Winter Cycling Federation holds a Winter Cycling Congress where experts and advocates get together and talk about best practices in cycling infrastructure and maintenance.” with thanks to NOT JUST BIKES for this excellent content!

More information: https://wintercycling.org/

​2021 Winter Cycling Congress – Feb 11, 12, 2021 This is an e-global event!


Bike Lane vs Urban Shoulder

Bike Lane vs Urban Shoulder shown in Videos

Cycling infrastructure using urban shoulders to provide “safe” area for cycling, car parking and traffic calming is a compromise solution.

Lisa Stokes, a BikeBrampton member shot these videos (5 minutes total), to demonstrate how it feels to cycle in a bike lane versus an urban shoulder.

Cycling in Brampton’s Central Park Drive buffered bike lane video

Cycling on Brampton’s McMurchy Avenue sharrows and urban shoulder video

Delegation to Council, Sept 30, 2020

Lisa virtually delegated on behalf of BikeBrampton, using three short videos. Her introductory video (below) outlined the key points that BikeBrampton made about the 2020 resurfacing report in item 10.3.6, followed by an invitation to Council to accompany her on a ride of a buffered bike lane and urban shoulder. She created videos to demonstrate her points.

Lisa’s Introductory Delegation Video


The road noise in the video makes it difficult to hear for some video viewers. Lisa has provided her written video commentary:

Commentary Text for Central Park bike lane video:

I’m now at Bramalea and Central Park. This is a great facility.

One improvement I’d like to see is that the bike lane goes to Bramalea so there’s no conflict zone between bikes and cars at the intersection. I’d also like to see no dashed lines so the cars are not allowed to merge into the bike lane when turning right.

I love this facility because the buffer is so wide that it keeps the cars a long way from the cyclists. The bike lane is actually wide enough for cyclists to ride side-by-side.

If I was riding with my child here I would be riding over here next to the buffer and I would have my child on my inside between me and the curb, which would make them feel very protected, not only that they were far away from cars, but also that I would be able to ride beside them and guide them and chat with them, and provide an extra buffer between them and passing cars.

Commentary Text for McMurchy sharrow & urban shoulder video:

I am on McMurchy, south of Queen, where the cycling infrastructure is sharrows. Sharrows are supposed to indicate where cyclists should ride and to warn drivers that cyclists will be on the road. But they don’t provide any safety for cyclists, and anyone who would not be comfortable riding here without the sharrows, would not be comforted by the sharrows.

Now the facility turns into an urban shoulder and cars are regularly parked on the urban shoulder. So in order to pass this car here, I have to do a shoulder check, signal, another shoulder check, manoeuvre out and take the lane. And in a situation like this where cars are parked several car lengths apart, I have to continue to control the lane because it’s not safe or predictable for me to weave in and out, but a lot of inexperienced cyclists don’t realize this and get into continual conflict with motor vehicles in a situation like this. And here we come up to another car. In this case we pulled in, because there were more than about 10 car lengths between the parked cars, and to allow a car to pass us. These are manoeuvres that take a great deal of confidence and experience, and the 60% of cyclists that are interested, but concerned, would not be convinced that this type of cycling facility would keep them safe enough to get them off the sidewalk.


Caledon BikeWrx Pop-up Cafe

Caledon BikeWrx pop-up Café outdoor events as we deal with COVID-19.

BikeBrampton in partnership with Town of Caledon is pleased to host pop-up tent events for promoting trail etiquette. Where possible, we will do minor bike repairs. We will install Region of Peel bells while supplies last, once a skill testing question is answered. Bring your mask for repair service.

Schedule of BikeWrx Pop-up Cafés

Sun Jun 28, 10:00am-noon Valleywood Etobicoke Creek Trail, at foot of Newhouse Park

Sat Jul 11, 10:00am-noon, Caledon East, on Caledon Trailway, at the pavillion west of Airport Rd

Wed Jul 22, 6:00-8:00pm, Valleywood Etobicoke Creek Trail, at foot of Newhouse Park

Tues Sept 15, 4:00-6:00pm, Inglewood, on Caledon Trailway


Skill Testing Question Hint: When do you use your bell? Answer: well back of a pedestrian or slower cyclist, when you are passing. Give them plenty of notice so they are not frightened into falling or jumping in front of your bike! If they don’t appear to hear you, ring again and call out “passing on your left”. Slow down and pass carefully. Pedestrians have the right of way! Keep right except to pass. Sharing the trail is the neighbourly way. Here is Caledon’s Trail Etiquette sign:

Caledon Trails Etiquette


Inglewood BikeWrx Pop-up Cafe – Sep 15th

BikeBrampton held their final of four BikeWrx Cafes with the Town of Caledon, in Inglewood, beside the Caledon Trailway. Councillor Lynn Kiernan stopped by to show support, as did many local residents. An evening week night also attracted many cyclists out for a trail ride. Peter and Gerald did minor bike repairs and attached bells. Caledon Trail maps were a great hit as were lights, which must be used a half hour before sunset and a half hour after sunrise.

Inglewood BikeWrx cafe


Valleywood BikeWrx Pop-up Cafe – Jul 22nd

BikeBrampton teamed up with Town of Caledon to offer a weekday evening pop up event. Great opportunity to visit with local community and those cycling along the Etobicoke Creek Trail below Vallleywood. Even the children understood why they needed to use hand sanitizer first before signing in and receiving their newly installed bell, supplied by the Region of Peel. Both Gerald and Peter were kept busy with minor repairs until near the end of our 2 hours, the rain came pouring down. Hoorary for good dry tents!

Valleywood BikeWrx Cafe evening


Caledon East BikeWrx Pop-up Cafe – Jul 11th

Thunderstorms threatened and eager cyclists showed up to BikeBrampton and Town of Caledon bringing a pop-up tent to the Caledon Trailway in Caledon East. Peter performed minor repairs and we installed bike bells to encourage good trail etiquette! Mayor Thompson and Ann stopped by to welcome us. Volunteers Wayne and Steve along with Town Staff Alyson greeted and educated the riders. We braved the mosquitos. Rain and thunder did finally force an early pack-up!

Caledon East BikeWrx Cafe


Valleywood BikeWrx Pop-up Cafe – Jun 28th

On a beautiful hot summer day, there was a line up for bike repairs, Region of Peel bells and water bottles, and Caledon Trail maps. Councillors Johanna Downey and Lynn Kiernan joined cyclists and walkers, Town of Caledon Staff and BikeBrampton volunteers on the Etobicoke Creek Trail, at the foot of Newhouse Park. People were educated about use of bells and the trail etiquette. They asked, when is the next event?

Valleywood BikeWrx Cafe 1

Valleywood BikeWrx cafe 2

Valleywood BikeWrx cafe 3


Williams Parkway Widening Issue

BikeBrampton encourages residents support Option 3 for Williams Parkway to remain 4 lanes with multi-use path, treed landscaped showing sustainability leadership for Climate Emergency, 2040 Vision and Active Transportation Master Plan. Ask the Mayor and your Councillors to vote for Option 3, by sending your letter prepared by the David Suzuki Foundation.

City of Brampton Staff is proposing to widen Williams Parkway between McLaughlin Road and North Park Drive from 4 to 6 lanes, as planned since 2004. The latest collective knowledge about vibrant city planning, Brampton’s Active Transportation Master Plan (2019), Brampton’s 2040 Vision (2018), and Brampton’s declared Climate Emergency (2019) have cast a much different light on what was logical in 2004, Brampton’s Transit and Transportation Master Plan (2009) and the Environmental Assessment (2011).

Council passed a unanimous motion to pause Williams Parkway road widening

Council passed a Motion on October 23, 2019 to request Staff review options and opportunities for managing traffic congestion due to growth and for maximizing people-moving capacity management opportunities, improvements to active transportation (walking, cycling) and transit infrastructure and services, and operational interventions and improvements, in particular at intersections.

Council Workshop on Williams Parkway Options

Staff returned with a Council Workshop on June 15, 2020, recognizing that “Brampton is at a pivotal point in development”, “we cannot keep doing things the same way” and there are “contrasting views on increasing people moving capacity vs. congestion”. Because “Williams Parkway is the first of several previously identified 6 lane widening projects currently pending”, it is critical that we make the right decision for the growth that Brampton will experience and for our limited time to plan for climate change. Council Workshop Presentation

Option #3 narrows Williams Parkway existing 4 lanes – best choice

Option3WilliamsSection

It creates more space for the multi-use path and additional trees, shrubs, and a park-like setting. It offers the best solution for encouraging AT with safety, comfort and protection for vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians. Narrowed lanes calms the traffic speeds. This option is most aligned with Brampton’s 2040 Vision, the Active Transportation Master Plan, and Brampton’s declaration of a Climate Emergency.

This is Brampton’s Chance to demonstrate Sustainability Leadership

The Williams Parkway project is our opportunity to make sure that Brampton’s urban planning is in line with our more recent publicly supported plans. It is a watershed decision that will impact the other proposed road expansions to 6 lanes and indicates that Brampton is a sustainability leader. Please complete the online survey which can be found here

Send a letter to Mayor Brown and your Councillors by following this link to a letter prepared by the David Suzuki Foundation.


Staff recommended Option #1 (not unanimous across Staff departments)

Option1WilliamsSection

Option #1 would proceed with widening 4 lanes to 6 lanes of traffic, providing HOV and transit in the curb lanes. The sidewalk would be removed, and a 3 m. multi-use path for shared cycling and pedestrians would be added to both sides of the road, extending to the sound barrier. Virtually all the green landscaping and trees would be removed, leaving an asphalt corridor. This road is not designated for bus rapid transit. We are not in favour of this option for the following reasons:

Issues with Option #1

1. Induced Demand Effect on Congestion

Induced Demand is a concept well understood by planners since 2011, yet often ignored in traffic demand modelling. It means that building more traffic lanes won’t alleviate congestion. A bigger road offers more supply and this makes driving more attractive, which encourages people to get behind the wheel. Traffic does not get better. When Houston expanded their freeway to 26 lanes at a cost of $2.8 billion, over the next 3 years traffic actually became worse and travel times increased by 30% in the morning commute and 55% in the afternoon. The cost of widening roads is neither an effective use of tax dollars, nor is it good for the environment. Video demonstrating Induced Demand.

2. Trees & Green Spaces – Brampton’s 2040 Vision

Option #1 give the appearance of an asphalt and concrete thoroughfare. Brampton’s 2040 Vision #1 stated that “Brampton will be a mosaic of sustainable places, sitting in an interconnected green park network, with its people as environmental stewards – targeting ‘one-planet’ living.”

3. Safe, Comfortable Active Transportation Infrastructure

Brampton’s 2040 Vision #4 stated that “Brampton will be a mosaic of safe, integrated transportation choices and new modes, contributing to civic sustainability, and emphasizing walking, cycling, and transit”. Brampton’s ATMP also emphasizes Complete Streets and the need for an integrated AT network, sustainable community design and global best practices. Option #1 will not give either cyclists or pedestrians the feeling of comfort between a faster moving HOV lane and the tall sound barrier. Crossing six lanes of traffic is less compatible with Vision Zero.

4. Explore other options for replacing or using Development Charges

The Workshop and the survey assert that DC funding makes Option #1 the most economical for the Brampton taxpayer. This may not be the only solution to selecting the best option.

5. COVID-19 potential changes to Traffic Demand

The traffic demand modelling does not account for potential changes due to COVID-19. There might be permanent drops in traffic as more people continue to work from home. Certain businesses may not reopen.

Option #2 keeps Williams Parkway existing 4 lanes

Option2WilliamsSection

Option #2 changes the sidewalk to a multi-use path for pedestrians and bikes. There is more of a green landscaping buffer between the vehicles and the path. This option is preferable to Option #1 in our opinion.

We therefore request support for Williams Parkway Option #3.

Make your Voice Heard – Complete the Survey before Aug 1st

Please complete the online survey which can be found here


COVID19 Bike Lane Tips

Here are handy tips for using Brampton COVID-19 bike lanes. These are good safety messages for cycling in traffic!

This video shows how to safely enter and exit the bike lanes from intersections and adjacent pathways.

Avoid the dreaded “Right Hook” at Intersections

 

COVID lane potential right hook at intersection

Cyclists must be constantly aware of their surroundings, especially at intersections. A vehicle making a right turn may not see, or may misjudge the speed of the cyclist. This is the greatest possibility for the “right hook”. Assume the driver does not see you. Slow down, even if you have a green light and the right of way. Do a shoulder check to see if a vehicle is signalling to turn right or even if you THINK they might turn right. If the traffic light is red, you can stop at the end of the COVID-19 construction barrels, short of the intersection. If you are more confident, you can approach the intersection stop line and take the lane. If you are still more confident, you can move to the left side of the curb lane at the stop line to allow vehicles indicating a right turn to make their turn on the red. Take the middle of the lane as the light changes to green to make sure no one passes you on the right.

Vodden COVID lane potential right hook at driveway

Treat every driveway as an intersection! This is especially true at the driveway entrance/exit to retail stores and malls! As noted above, assume the vehicles will not see you and will misjudge your speed. Slow down and make eye contact with the driver. You can choose to wave them through, especially if you are not sure they are stopping for you to proceed. Similarly, assume the drivers exiting the mall will not see you.

Passing in the COVID-19 bike lanes

passing cyclist in COVID bike lane

The Brampton COVID-19 bike lanes are not wide enough to pass another cyclist, leaving 6′ (2 metres) of distance. They are also not designed as a race course. Some of the users may not have ever cycled on the road before. If you come up behind a slower cyclist and want to pass, do a shoulder check to make sure the traffic lane is clear, signal left and pull out from between the construction barrels to pass. When you have cleared the cyclist by at least two bike lengths, signal right and carefully pull back between the barrels into the bike lane.

passing illegally parked vehicle in COVID lane

There is no parking in the COVID-19 bike lanes. Use the same procedure as above to safely pass a vehicle.

dooring potential COVID lane

When the illegally parked vehicle is narrower, there might appear to be room to pass the vehicle by staying within the COVID-19 construction barrel lane. You should only do so if you can clearly see that there is no one in the driver seat. The driver could give you the “DOOR PRIZE”, by opening their door just as you try to pass! Door prizes and right hooks are the dreaded two-some for lack of attention when cycling in traffic! It may be the driver’s fault, but the cyclist pays the price.

Yield to Buses

yield to bus sign COVID lanes

Brampton reduced the number of bus stops along Vodden Street during the COVID-19 emergency. Note the installation of ‘bike yield to bus’ signs at bus stop shelters. Construction barrels end shortly before the bus stop, so buses can pull up to the curb. Cyclists should shoulder check as they approach bus stops and yield if a bus is coming. This is standard practice for cycling and driving on any street. Transit has the Right of Way.

Note the cyclist on the sidewalk in the above photo. Although this is illegal in Brampton, cyclists routinely do this if they don’t feel safe sharing the road. Only kids’ bikes with wheel bases of less than 50 cm are permitted on sidewalks. During COVID-19 emergency, an adult riding on the sidewalk is a problem for keeping a safe physical distance from pedestrians. These bike lanes will encourage cyclists to get off the sidewalk!

Don’t block the Bike lane

do not block bike lane

If you need to stop, be courteous and pull up onto the boulevard so you don’t block the bike lane.

Use the COVID-19 Bike Network Map to find your way

COVID19 Map

Thirty of these COVID-19 Bike Network Maps have been placed along the interim bike lanes and the loops to essential services. This stylized map shows “you are here”, plus the network of adjacent streets and pathways. Check out this blog post with links to the interactive city map. It allows you to zoom in for precise route planning to your essential destination.

Before and After on Vodden Street – a feeling of safety and comfort

Before the COVID-19 bike lanes on Vodden Street, we seldom saw anyone cycling, except confident riders. Since the bike lanes were installed, we have noticed much more ridership within the protection of the interim construction barrels. Interestingly, there are more people walking on the sidewalks too. Perhaps the barrier of a bike lane separating pedestrians from the 4-5 lanes of traffic makes people feel more comfortable. This is part of the concept of a “Complete Street” for all road users.

Suddenly, we have Families with Children cycling on Vodden Street!

parent & child Vodden COVID bike lane

parent, bike trailer, children COVID lane

Essential Cycling Trips on Vodden Street COVID-19 bike lanes

utilitarian cyclists COVID lanes

More people are using bikes for essential travel — to work, instead of taking transit, to appointments and for essential trips.

shopping cyclist COVID lanes

The grocery bag indicates this cyclist has been out for an essential trip!

City of Brampton – an Early Adopter!

STR Making Space for Physical Distancing

Share the Road Cycling Coalition, and TCAT hosted a webinar on April 22, 2020, where BikeBrampton, City of Brampton staff and Councillor Santos presented our experiences on Making Space for Physical Distancing. Here is the link to the webinar video recording. Share the Road has created a new webpage that is full of helpful resources on Rebalancing Streets.

Other COVID-19 Blog posts

COVID-19 Bike Network Map

COVID-19 Interim Bike Lanes

C.O.V.I.D.1.9

Cycling in COVID-19 Times

BikeBrampton offers their thanks to our volunteer cycling members, Mayor Patrick Brown, Council, especially AT champion Councillor Rowena Santos, Brampton Staff, including Transportation Planning, Traffic Services, Communications and all the various departments that have made these COVID-19 bike lanes come to life so quickly and efficiently!


COVID19 Bike Network Map

Brampton’s new COVID-19 bike network interactive map shows loops for planning essential grocery, pharmacy and medical trips from the interim bike lanes along Vodden Street and Howden Boulevard.

 

Mayor Patrick Brown unveiled the new map in City Hall on Apr 22nd. The press conference was covered by CP24 TV with this video link. Mayor Brown said in response to a question, “in this term of Council, you are going to see record investment in active transportation because we believe in it… cities are for people not cars”.

Look for Mayor Brown’ remarks starting at the 11:10 mark in the video link, where he unveils the map. Following that, is the announcement by Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon and remarks by the lead Councillor on the file, Rowena Santos. David Laing, Chair of BikeBrampton made his remarks (shown below) starting at the 14:53 mark. Subsequently, Mayor Brown took questions from the media.

Brampton Interim Bike Lanes – bicycle-friendly loops interactive map

The above Brampton bicycle-friendly loops map can be accessed online from City of Brampton’s website. It is an interactive GIS map that can be zoomed in for more detail. The tags on the right margin are map layers that can be clicked and unclicked to pinpoint the essential services that are located along the network loops from the interim bike lanes. You can use the interactive map for planning your essential trips.

David Laing’s remarks at Brampton City Hall press conference:

“My name is David Laing, chair of BikeBrampton, representing the cycling community. Today marks the 50th anniversary of first Earth Day celebration. It is therefore fitting that, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a crisis felt around the world, it is also today providing a catalyst for what may be lasting and positive change that may well help us avert the worst effects of a climate catastrophe the likes of which would make COVID-19 pale by comparison.

The interim bike lanes provide a long-awaited and much needed safer cycling corridor for those needing to travel east – west through the City’s centre. The maps combine with this spine to create an active transportation network along less busy roads that will connect people to places where they work, buy groceries, buy medications, and avail themselves of other essential products and services.
This past Monday, I saw a cyclist in the bike lane riding on Vodden, west of Centre St. It was interesting that when he got to the end of the bike lane at Ken Whillans Drive, he immediately reverted to the sidewalk, which is both illegal and makes it impossible for him to practice safe social distancing with other cyclists and pedestrians.

I want to thank City staff, especially those in Transportation Planning and Traffic Services, for moving heaven and earth to get the lanes and the maps done quickly and efficiently. I’ve learned there is much more to this process than painting a few signs and dropping some construction barrels on a road!

In this time of hardship and social isolation, when we are frightened for our own health, and that of loved ones, and when so many are without a pay cheque, I want to thank Mayor Brown, Councillor Santos and the rest of Council for providing decisive leadership, for being empathetic to our situation, for recognizing how important it is for us to be able to be outside for exercise and recreation, for recognizing the need to provide more public space to allow for proper physical distancing for walkers and cyclists and for recognizing the need to provide us with transportation options that will both save us money and increase our chances of staying healthy.”

Mayor Patrick Brown said, “I’m glad Brampton is a leader in active transportation and I hope other cities will follow.”

Previous blog posts on COVID-19:

COVID19 Interim Bike Lanes

C.O.V.I.D.1.9

Cycle in COVID-19 Times

BikeBrampton Cycling Tips Videos


COVID19 Interim Bike Lanes

To help protect the health and safety of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Brampton is implementing interim bike lanes along the Vodden Street corridor. These routes will provide an alternative cycling option to recreational trails for residents, and allow cyclists to maintain physical distancing.

(photo credit: City of Brampton)

As of Saturday, April 18, Brampton is temporarily closing off curb lanes to vehicular traffic along the following sections of road and repurposing the lanes for bicycle use only:

  • Vodden Street – Ken Whillans Drive to Howden Boulevard
  • Howden Boulevard – Vodden Street to Central Park Drive

These sections of road, referred to as the ‘Big Ask’, are a part of the planned East-West Cycling Corridor connection as proposed in the  Active Transportation Master Plan. The City is working to implement permanent protected bike lanes on these streets in line with the Brampton 2040 Vision and the Streets for People Term of Council Priority.

Vehicular traffic in Peel Region is down 33 per cent as a result of COVID-19, giving the City a unique opportunity to showcase a part of the planned East-West Cycling Corridor to provide cyclists a safe connection to essential amenities and the City’s trail network.

The ‘Big Ask’

In collaboration with City Staff, Bike Brampton and the Bikeport by Kevin Montgomery developed the “Big Ask” Report. It was delegated to Committee of Council on Apr 3, 2019. The Vodden Street corridor was the east-west route selected for bike lanes. See Agenda pages 29-62 for the delegation slides and pages 63-116 for the report. Report pdf link also below. Youtube of delegation starts at 52 minutes and ends at 1:38.45. Vodden Street Cycling Staff report went back to Council, May 29, 2019.

2019 Active Transportation Big Ask Report FINAL

Quotes:

“As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time, our residents remain our top priority. I am proud to say that Brampton is reconfiguring streets and repurposing traffic lanes to give cyclists and pedestrians more room to maintain physical distancing. I encourage people to continue to follow physical distancing recommendations and remain as active and healthy as possible under these trying circumstances.” – Patrick Brown, Mayor, City of Brampton

“Brampton believes in promoting, supporting and implementing active transportation to keep our city moving. Given this Covid-19 emergency, we must now more than ever ensure that pedestrians, cyclists, and cars maintain a safe distance apart. As a cyclist myself, I am proud of our collaborative efforts with the community to make these temporary bike lanes happen and we look forward to implementing permanent solutions in the near future.” – Rowena Santos, Regional Councillor, Wards 1 and 5; Member, Cycling Advisory Committee

“The City is temporarily reallocating road space for cyclists to keep residents healthy and active while maintaining physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. With less traffic on our roads, we hope to provide a positive and safe experience for anyone wanting to ride a bicycle during this time.” – David Barrick, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Brampton

“In this time of isolation, an important part of how my wife and I maintain our physical and mental wellbeing is by riding our bikes to buy essentials and for exercise. I am grateful to Mayor Brown, Councillor Santos, all of Brampton Council and City staff who understand the need and are dedicating important public space for a bike lane that will reduce the pressure on pathways, so we can all get outside while meeting the requirement for physical distancing.” – David Laing, Chair, BikeBrampton

Interim Bike Lane FYI

General Information

  1. Public health authorities advise that moderate exercise can help keep our immune systems stronger.
  2. The temporary bike lanes are intended to provide a safe space for people of all ages and abilities who want to ride a bike for exercise, or to access essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacy, medical appointments, and essential jobs.
  3. The temporary lanes have been set up to relieve pressure on crowded recreational trails.
  4. Only bikes with wheel bases below 50cm (children’s size bikes) are allowed to be ridden on sidewalks in Brampton.
  5. When using the road, cyclists are subject to the same rules as motor vehicle drivers.

Using the Interim Lanes

  1. The temporary bike lanes are one-directional. Ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic, and obey all traffic signs and signals.
  2. Cyclists must keep a safe distance, a minimum of 2 bike lengths if from different households.
  3. Passing another cyclist should be avoided, unless you can safely move out into the lane of traffic to clear the cyclist in front of you while maintaining a width of 2 metres (6 feet).
  4. Use hand signals to indicate your intention to left or right, and to stop.
  5. Do your shoulder check before you make a turn to make sure the way is clear.
  6. Beware of drivers entering and exiting driveways. They may not easily see you. Slow down and be prepared to stop quickly.
  7. Even when you have the right of way with a green light, pay attention to your surroundings and do not assume that others will stop at red lights.
  8. Especially pay attention at intersections to make sure that drivers are not turning right. Remember, they may not see you.
  9. Sound your bell. By Ontario law, you should have a bell or horn.
  10. If you need to stop somewhere other than at an intersection, signal your stop and pull over, up onto the curb, so you can safely let other cyclists pass you keeping the physical distance.

COVID 19 Precautions

  1. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
  2. Wash your hands before you start your trip.
  3. If you touch a signal crossing button, use your elbow, not your hand.
  4. If you need to cough or sneeze, use your arm or sleeve. Do not spit or blow your nose without a tissue
  5. Clean your bike frame with a soapy cloth at the end of the ride.
  6. Wash your hands when you finish your trip.

BikeBrampton working with Brampton Council & Staff

We would like to thank Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillor Rowena Santos (Council representative for Brampton Cycling Advisory Committee) for their support and leadership. Staff has moved mountains to implement these interim lanes quickly during the pandemic. A special thanks to Transportation Planning, who sees the ‘big picture’ of Complete Streets for all in Brampton.

Special thanks to Traffic Services for installing the bike lanes. (photo credit: Lisa Stokes) They also changed traffic signals along the route to automatically display ‘walk’ with the green light — less need for us to touch the ‘beg’ button! They are continuing to install more signage and monitor the spacing of cones.

This curb ramp makes entrance and exit off the Etobicoke Creek Trail safer than ‘bumping down’ from the high curb. These ramps, along with signage and yellow bollards, are located at all the trail openings adjacent to the new bike lanes. Approach with caution to get the angle right!

As the weather warms, there will be increased use of Brampton extensive system of pathways. These bike lanes will help relieve pressure on the paths, as well as make it easier to cycle for essential trips to groceries, pharmacies and medical centres. Exercise is an important component of our physical and mental health. Cycling may be a preferred option for short trips to essential work and help workers get fresh air instead of taking transit.

Additional Resources

City of Brampton Media Release – Apr 17, 2020

City of Brampton Temporary Bike Lanes Information

City of Brampton Active Transportation Plan – endorsed by Council Sept 23, 2019

City of Brampton East-West Cycling Corridor Project

Need refresher skills to use your bike with confidence?

Check out the Brampton Bike Hub, part of the CCP (Community Cycle Program), operated by BikeBrampton and PCHS on behalf of Region of Peel. We are operating virtually right now. We have a bike lending library. Check back with us for borrowing a bike, as we are out of bikes now.

Bike Lane Tips Video


Rear View Cycling

Rear view cycling was promoted in Bike Month.

MTO’s Road Safety Challenge grant allowed BikeBrampton to design, create and display a poster to encourage cyclists to check around them before turning or changing lanes.

Published April 2018 in “Cycling Skills: Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling” included the inspiration for our challenge this year:

“A rear view mirror lets you see what is approaching from behind and makes it easier to check traffic before passing.”

 

Brampton Springdale Library hosted a Bike Month display, where BikeBrampton and Walk+Roll Peel promoted cycling events and bike safety to library patrons. Partnerships extend our cycling message reach to new audiences!

Bramalea CycleFest gave the community an opportunity to get their bikes set and prepare to cycle the 3, 6 or 12km routes safely.

Bramalea CycleFest 6km riders on Brampton’s Chinguacousy Trail.

Sonia Sidhu MP (Brampton-South), stopped by to encourage Bramalea CycleFest riders.

CeleBrampton CycleFest always draws a large crowd of interested cyclists, wanting news of events, safety information and the latest Cycling Guide route map. As cycling has become more popular, the safety questions have become more sophisticated!

Our Rear View Cycling poster display complements our MTO Road Safety Challenge 2016 campaign pull-up sign of the “One Metre Safe Passing Law”.

Similarly, Jane’s Walk (in our case, Ride), was a good opportunity to supplement BikeBrampton’s booth display with our MTO Road Safety Challenge 2017 campaign flag of “Do the Bright Thing – Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Predictable”.

Bike the Creek routes of 12, 26, 40 and 46km gave hundreds of riders the opportunity to practice “Rear View Cycling” on the paths and roads of Brampton and Caledon.

See Bike to School Week 2018 blog post for more on Rear View Cycling!