Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not Enough Enforcement - Daily Gleaner

Re: Cycling on sidewalks

I wholeheartedly support the stance taken by city councillor Stephen Chase on the issue of cyclists on city sidewalks: that more needs to be done to reduce this dangerous practice.

Councillor Kelly suggests we need a study to get the full picture on whether sidewalks could be shared with cyclists and skateboarders. But we don't need a study to know that a mix of fast-moving bicycles and foot traffic is dangerous.

One wonders why the city has spent all that money on providing safe cycle lanes if the sidewalk was an adequate, safe alternative.

Last year I raised the issue of non-enforcement of the city bylaw with Police Chief MacKnight stemming from two collisions (I have been clipped by a handlebar and a foot peddle) and one near-collision of my car with a speeding cyclist as I slowly reversed out of a shared driveway.

I do not think I am an unusual 'cycle magnet,' so I suspect that others in the downtown and university hill areas may have had similar experiences.

I was very disappointed to see the measure of the so-called enforcement that Chief MacKnight mentioned would happen. Just six tickets and 15 warnings in six months. This has clearly had little effect of deterrence, as I observed three cyclists on the sidewalk during a 10-minute walk to the FREX on Saturday.

Many times police cruise by sidewalk cyclists without issuing warnings.

I echo Counc. Chase's desire for better enforcement of the bylaw, and increases in fine occurrences as a deterrent measure, in conjunction with a raised general and campus awareness campaign.

Patrolling should include campus arterial routes too.

James Whitehead


  1. If there were courses such as the Can Bike course cyclists would learn to feel more comfortable in traffic, since feeling UN-safe is what drives cyclists to the sidewalk in the first place. I remember cycling in Fredericton in the late 70s when there were comparatively few of us, and many times I had encounters that put me on the sidewalk. Today's drivers are more aware of bicycles, but that sometimes makes them MORE aggressive. Velo Cape Breton in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, where I now live, is making great strides in educating cyclists and motorists alike on the proper use of streets and highways. CBRM has far less financial ability to build and maintain infrastructure to support cycling, yet we have remarkably safe conditions due to education.

  2. I couldn't agree more! If some money was invested into education of motorists and even cyclists, it could build a better friendship on the road. Fredericton motorists are bad enough as it is (not stopping at stop signs, running reds, cutting off, not merging properly, etc), but if every motorist spent a day on a bicycle, they would soon realize what they're doing, in terms of harassment is completely unsafe.