By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
One method the City of Toronto is using to try and meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2040 as part of its TransformTO Net Zero Strategy is by advocating for the use of more energy efficient forms of transportation.
With that goal in mind, Toronto will be kicking off Bike Month on Thursday, June 1, with its annual Bike To Work Day group ride to Nathan Phillips Square.
The ride will have four starting points across the city.
East Toronto residents who are interested in participating are asked to meet at East Lynn Park, Danforth Avenue (just west of Woodbine Avenue) at 7:10 a.m.
Other meet up locations include Bloor Street and High Park Avenue at 7:10 a.m., Davisville Avenue and Yonge Street at 7:20 a.m., and Bay Street and Charles Street at 7:30 a.m.
To ensure the safety of all riders, there will be “at least two Cycle Toronto Ride Guides” present at each of the four group cycling sessions.
Bike Month celebrations aim to promote cycling as an environmentally friendly method of transportation around the city.
Through the entirety of June, there will be various bicycle-themed events such as guided bike tours, cycling workshops and social events hosted across the city.
“We continue to expand Toronto’s cycling infrastructure to increase safety and provide more opportunities for people to get around this city in a greener and cleaner way,” said Scarborough-Rouge Park Councillor and Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee Jennifer McKelvie in a news release.
“Cycling to everyday destinations is a key way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, more sustainable city.”
Over the last few years, Toronto has experienced “the largest expansion of the on-street bikeway network in the city’s history” according to the news release. In 2022, Toronto added 17.8 kilometres of bikeways to the network.
This was in part due to the ActiveTO program which was initialized in 2020 as a response to a need for more space to physically distance when walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic.The program also served to improve the access options for local businesses during a period when many were uncomfortable with taking public transit.
New lanes were added to the already existing ones which were also renewed to create a more efficient biking experience for residents.
The emphasis on the importance of an extensive bike network didn’t just start during the pandemic, however. City officials have been working alongside the cycling community to encourage more bicycle usage since 1989.
This year’s celebration of Bike Month continues the tradition as the event will once again be hosted in partnership with Cycle Toronto. Bike Month is also supported regionally by Smart Commute.
“Whether for recreation or transportation, more people across the city are choosing to ride a bike and Bike Month is a great opportunity to share that joy of cycling,” said Cycle Toronto Executive Director Michael Longfield.
For more information about the Bike to Work Day group commute and Bike Month in Toronto, please visit https://www.bikemonth.ca/toronto
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.