City Name
Home » Recent posts » A Toronto Cyclist’s Guide

A Toronto Cyclist’s Guide

A Toronto Cyclist's Guide

Toronto has been ranked as one of the best global cities in 2023, and the city’s just gearing up to make more impact, especially in the cycling world. By listening to its citizens’ opinions, Toronto is slowly transforming into a cyclist city.

Let’s get on our bikes, put on our helmets, and get to know Toronto as a cyclist!

Contents show

Is Toronto a good city for cycling?

Toronto received a cycling Network Score of 45%, surpassing the 2022 world average of 27%, according to a PeopleForBikes study

Its cycling-friendly features, providing easy access to neighborhoods, offices, schools, hospitals, government services, and recreational spots, contribute to this score.

While 45% is a good score, it’s still a long way to go compared to cities like the Hague and Utrecht, both in the Netherlands, with the highest scores at 88% and 84% respectively.

Where can I go cycling in Toronto?

You can go cycling in Toronto through several trails, such as BeltLine Trail, Lower Don Trail, Martin Goodman Trail, and more. 

We’ll go through them one by one later.

Is cycling growing in Toronto?

Cycling is growing in Toronto due to more use of bicycles used for school, work, and recreational purposes.

In Toronto, reported cyclists increased to 70% in 2019. Utilitarian cyclists rose from 29% in 2009 to 44% in 2019. Households owning at least one bicycle increased to 74% in 2019. 

Pros and Cons of Cycling in Toronto

The art of cycling is growing in Toronto but it’s not without its growing pains. First, we’ll look at the reasons why cycling is a good activity and the reasons why it’s not the best.

Reasons Why Toronto is Good for Cycling

Toronto’s growing community enjoys laws that protect them, including bike registration. Let’s explore each factor briefly.

1. Toronto continues to enjoy a growing cycling community.

In Toronto, a city with over 2.7 million residents, you’ll find one of Canada’s liveliest cycling communities. Cycling clubs are scattered throughout, offering options for everyone, whether you’re into leisurely rides or more competitive pursuits.

Beyond just biking, it’s a fantastic way to plug into the local scene and get involved in meaningful activities.

2. Toronto has laws that protect cyclists from harm.

In Toronto, bikes aren’t just accessories as they’re officially recognized as vehicles, granted the same rights as your typical four-wheel counterpart. What’s more, the city has your back when it comes to cycling safety. 

They’ve published the Toronto Cycling Handbook, complete with a family edition that covers all the essential tips, required equipment, traffic laws, and safe cycling habits every cyclist in Toronto should know.

3. All bikes in Toronto are registered.

Law enforcement, including the Toronto Police, is dedicated to safeguarding bikers and encouraging biking as a primary mode of transportation in the city.

To register your bike, just visit the Toronto Police Service Bike Registry Database on their website or drop by your nearby local police station. 

This ensures that in any unfortunate incident involving your bike or another biker, the police can swiftly take action in line with the law.

4. Toronto has trails and roads and trails for various types of bikes.

Got a road, gravel, or mountain bike? Good news: Toronto’s got diverse terrain for you to ride on.

The local government’s got your back, designating cycling infrastructure like cycle tracks, bike lanes, shared roadway routes, and multi-use trails just for you.

Reasons Why Toronto isn’t Good for Cycling

Toronto isn’t perfect when it comes to cycling, but it’s on its way. It has some limitations for now, usually due to infrastructure, so let’s check the reasons why cycling in this city might not be for you.

1. Toronto has limited bike lanes.

The city has areas with insufficient dedicated cycling lanes, posing safety concerns. This has been tackled often by pro-bike groups, with many of them collaborating with city officials to reach various points of agreement.

2. Toronto’s weather isn’t always conducive for biking.

Spring, summer, and fall seasons are great for cyclists, whether they’re on their way to school or work, or to meet friends and maybe even bike around the city. On the other hand, harsh winters with snow and ice make cycling less appealing and hazardous.

3. Toronto has periods of heavy traffic.

Traffic is often an issue for most large cities, and Toronto isn’t immune from it. Heavy traffic, especially in the downtown core, can create stressful conditions for cyclists.

4. Toronto has inadequate infrastructure suitable for biking.

A lack of secure bike parking, long commuting distances, intersection safety issues, and hilly terrain all contribute to cycling woes in Toronto. For this very reason, a petition has been submitted to build connections and close cycling gaps in the city.

Places with Bike Lanes in Toronto

Toronto’s got bike lanes suitable for all kinds of bikes, from your everyday unit to mountain bikes built for rougher terrain. Here are the bike lanes we’ve collected.

Just note that there might be changes from time to time, depending on Toronto’s cycling network map.

1. Suggested Bike Lanes for Everyday Cycling

Bike LaneJurisdiction
Argyle StreetSpadina-Fort York, Davenport
Borden Street and Brunswick AveUniversity-Rosedale
Conlins RoadScarborough-Rouge Park
Denison Avenue and Bellevue AveUniversity-Rosedale, Spadina-Fort York
Lawrence Avenue EastScarborough-Rouge Park
Shaw StreetUniversity-Rosedale
Simcoe StreetSpadina-Fort York
Winona DriveToronto-St. Paul’s
Woodbine AvenueBeaches-East York
Woodfield Road-Monarch ParkToronto-Danforth

2. Suggested Bike Routes for BMX

Cycling RoutesJurisdiction
Birmingham StreetEtobicoke-Lakeshore
Bloor Street West (Shaw Street to Runnymede Road)University-Rosedale, Davenport, Parkdale-High Park
Bloor Street-Danforth-Avenue-Kingston RoadEtobicoke-Lakeshore, Parkdale-High Park, Davenport, University-Rosedale, Toronto-Danforth, Beaches-East York
Conlins RoadScarborough-Rouge Park
Davenport Road (Yonge Street to Dupont Street)University-Rosedale
Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe ParkToronto-Danforth
Knox AvenueToronto-Danforth
Lake Shore Boulevard West (Norris Crescent to First Street)Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Peter StreetSpadina-Fort York
Rathburn Road and Martin Grove RoadEtobicoke Centre
Richmond Street and Adelaide StreetToronto Centre, Spadina-Fort York
Scarlett RoadYork South-Weston
Shuter StreetToronto Centre
The Esplanade and Mill StreetSpadina-Fort York
Willowdale AvenueToronto-St. Paul’s
Yonge StreetHumber River-Black Creek

3. Suggested Bike Routes for Mountain Bikes (MTB)

Trail routesJurisdiction
Duncan Creek TrailDon Valley North
East Don TrailDon Valley East
Eglinton Avenue WestYork South-Weston
Ellesmere RoadScarborough-Guildwood
Etobicoke Creek TrailEtobicoke
Finch Corridor TrailHumber River-Black Creek, York Centre, Willowdale, Don Valley North, Scarborough-Agincourt, Scarborough North
Kay Gardner Beltline TrailToronto Belt Line Railway
King-Liberty Pedestrian/Cyclist BridgeSpadina-Fort York
Kingston Road TrailScarborough Southwest
Kipling AvenueEtobicoke North
Lower Don TrailDon Valley
Martin Goodman Trail
Morningside ParkHighland Creek
Rosedale Valley RoadUniversity-Rosedale
Toronto Islands Park
Unwin AvenueToronto-Danforth
West Toronto RailpathDavenport

Best Cycling Trails in Toronto

We’ve covered the lanes, and now we’re about to hit the trails. But which ones will you want to discover?

We’ve selected the best cycling trails in Toronto to help you come up with your day of exploration.

York Beltline Trail

Media credit: York Beltline Trail

The Beltline Trail is a popular 9-kilometer multi-use path that follows an old railway line. Running through neighborhoods like Rosedale, Moore Park, and Forest Hill, it’s a go-to spot, especially during spring and summer.

What’s in it for you? While on the trail, you can hop down and take a leisurely stroll, go for a jog, or even engage in cross-country skiing during winter. 

Pro Tip:
Bring your phone for scenic snaps since along the way, you’ll go through beautiful city views and discover parks, gardens, and public art installations. 

Lower Don Trail

Media credit: m_tesla97

If you’re a seasoned cyclist, then the Lower Don Trail in Toronto is for you since it’s a mix of challenge and reward. 

Part of the Don Valley Trail system, this 5-kilometer route takes you through diverse terrains such as paved roads, dirt paths, and wooden boardwalks.

You’ll need skills and stamina to navigate the steep inclines and sharp, but the payoff is worth it. The trail has stunning views of the city skyline and the natural beauty of the Don River Valley.

Pro Tip:
If you’re still unsure of your cycling skill level, you might want to skip this as it’s not really suitable for beginners or those with limited cycling experience.

David Balfour Park Trail

Media credit: margot.collins

Toronto’s Rosedale neighborhood has the David A. Balfour Park Trail, a popular biking destination spanning approximately 4.5 kilometers. 

It’s part of the Don Valley Trail system, with a challenging yet rewarding ride through greenery, steep inclines, and sharp turns. Running through the park, the trail includes a scenic ravine and a picturesque waterfall.

Pro Tip:
This one’s more suitable for experienced cyclists as the challenging sections will need your stamina and skills. But don’t worry if you’re not at that level yet as several areas have a gentler incline.

Martin Goodman Trail

Media credit: gyaldemcyclingcollective

The Martin Goodman Trail might not be the longest biking route, but it sure is one of the most popular. Stretching about 56 kilometers along Lake Ontario’s waterfront, it’s one of North America’s longest continuous waterfront trails.

Pro Tip:
Biking alone is a good idea if you want to cover the whole stretch, but biking with friends can make the trip more fun. Be sure to capture the moments with your camera.

High Park Loops

Media credit: highparktoronto

High Park Loops is an ideal destination for family biking as it has numerous bike trails suitable for riders of all ages and skill levels. One of the popular ones is the High Park Trail which winds through forests and gardens.

These well-maintained bike trails ensure a safe and enjoyable ride for families with children. 

Pro Tip:
High Park Loops also has various amenities like playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports fields, creating a perfect setting for families to spend a day outdoors.

Leslie Street Spit

Media credit: Leslie Street Spit

For biking enthusiasts in Toronto, Leslie Street Spit is a unique and popular destination. The man-made peninsula extends into Lake Ontario, featuring natural habitats like wetlands, meadows, and forests.

The Spit gives you a challenging yet rewarding ride, offering stunning views of the lake and the city skyline. Riders can navigate various terrains, including paved roads, dirt paths, and wooden boardwalks. 

Pro Tip:
It’s also a hotspot for birdwatchers with over 300 recorded bird species in the area, which might be perfect for you if you’re an ornithophile.

Moccasin Trail Park

Media credit: bisikleta_abentura

At Moccasin Trail Park, you get a small yet beautiful park in the Rouge Valley area of Toronto. The winding trail takes you through a forested area with scenic views of the river and the wildlife.

It’s a great spot for a peaceful walk, birdwatching, or simply enjoying nature. 

Pro Tip:
The park also houses historical sites, including a former mill and a cemetery dating back to the 1800s.

West Don Parklands

Media credit: maplebike

West Don Parkland Trail is a scenic biking destination in Toronto’s Don River Valley. The 5-kilometer trail winds through a beautiful natural area, providing a habitat for various wildlife.

This trail’s pretty easy as it’s suitable for cyclists of all levels. It has easy sections for beginners and challenging stretches for the more experienced riders.

Pro Tip:
When going as a group, make sure to communicate for rendezvous spots especially when your group has mixed skill levels.

Cycling Clubs in Toronto

Going solo is fine, but joining a group of like-minded cyclists can expand your horizons even more. Let’s check some of the most popular cycling groups you can plan to join in Toronto.

Ontario Cycling Club

Media credit: ontariocycling


Contact: 416-855-1717


  • Closed from Saturday to Sunday
  • Monday to Friday: 9 AM – 4 PM

For a serious cyclist in Toronto, joining the Ontario Cycling (OC) organization is worth considering. 

They are the official governing body for cycling in Ontario, and cycling clubs in the province seek membership with OC as the duly recognized cycling organization.

Pro Tip:
If you’re gearing up to take your cycling skills levels up several notches, OC can help you train for competitive national and international races. They cover various cycling disciplines, from gravel and track to road, MTB, cyclo-cross, and BMX riding. 

Cycle Toronto

– Media credit: cycletoronto


Contact: 416-644-7188


  • Closed on Saturday to Sunday
  • Monday to Friday: 9 AM – 5 PM

Cycle Toronto isn’t an average cycling club; they’re an advocacy group fighting against oppression, racism, and other causes. They dedicate their cycling activities to making their advocacies known to the community, loud and heard.

If you bike occasionally in Toronto, chances are you’ve heard of at least one of these campaigns spearheaded by the club. If not, now’s the time to learn more about them.

Pro Tip:
They conduct interactive Street Smarts workshops covering the benefits of cycling for commuting, route selections, safe street riding techniques, laws for cyclists and motorists, basic bike maintenance, and more.

Toronto Bicycling Network (TBN)

– Media credit: tobikenet


As one of the largest recreational cycling clubs in the area, TBN offers more than just cycling. They organize outdoor activities like hiking and skiing in the winter months, catering to the outdoorsy bikers.

You can join their programs’ daily trips, scheduled workout training for cyclists, fall and winter rides, and overnight long rides in Canada.

Pro Tip:
If you want to expand your circle, TBN is recognized for its social events, providing an opportunity to meet fellow cycling enthusiasts and make new friends along the way.

Dark Horse Flyers Flying Club

Media credit: dhflyerscc


If you’re in search of a fun and friendly group to join, Dark Horse Flyers Flying Club could be the right fit for you. Open to all levels of riders, this biking club is a great entry point, whether you’re a beginner or haven’t been on a bike in years.

With a variety of events and rides to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Dark Horse Flyers has you covered, whether you’re looking for a leisurely Sunday morning ride or a challenging hill climb.

Pro Tip:
The club is known for its social events, making each opportunity the perfect time to meet new friends.

Morning Glory Cycling Club


As a registered cycling organization with the Ontario Cycling Association (OCA), the Morning Glory Cycling Club has various programs and daily group rides for cyclists of all levels. 

Experienced marshals lead and sweep the pack, ensuring confidence in exploring new routes and making lasting connections with fellow riders. 

Pro Tip:
Rides are rated based on your skill level, from novice to advanced, so you’ll feel more at ease.

Rules and Regulations to Know About Cycling in Toronto

When you hit the bike lanes and cycling routes, you’re operating under the governance of the Toronto Municipal Code (Ch. 886). The law is clear: only bikes are allowed to make full use of these designated lanes and tracks, making them exclusive to bikers.

Let’s go over the general rules and regulations for cycling in Toronto.

Bikes must follow traffic laws.

Cyclists are considered vehicles and must follow the same traffic laws as motorized vehicles. This means you’ll have to be strict in obeying traffic signals and stop signs, and yielding the right of way when required.

Use available bike lanes and follow bike lane policies.

You’re encouraged to use designated bike lanes where available. However, you must also follow the rules specific to those lanes, such as obeying lane markings and signaling turns.

Wear the right protective bike helmets.

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18. While it’s not mandatory for adults, it is strongly recommended for safety.

Install recommended lights and reflectors.

Bikes must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector when cycling during the dark hours, which is between sunset and sunrise.

While not a legal requirement, wearing reflective clothing and using reflective materials on your bike can enhance visibility, especially during low-light conditions.

Register your bikes.

Toronto does not have mandatory bike registration. However, it’s recommended to register your bike voluntarily. 

Registration can aid in recovery if the bike is lost or stolen.

Follow sidewalk riding policies.

Cyclists above the age of 14 are generally not allowed to ride on sidewalks, with some exceptions in certain areas. Before biking, make sure that you’re aware of local bylaws regarding sidewalk riding.

Follow one-way street directions.

Cyclists must follow the direction of one-way streets, just like motorized vehicles. This is because your bike is considered a vehicle.

Use proper hand signals.

When biking, proper hand signals must be used to indicate or warn incoming and following vehicles of your turns and stops.

Follow dismount zone policies.

Some areas may have “dismount zones” where cyclists are required to dismount and walk their bikes. To avoid getting into complications, watch out for these areas and dismount as directed.