This is long overdue.
Ald. Ric McIver is bringing forward a notice of motion at Monday’s council meeting seeking a review on the posted speeds on multi-use pathways to ensure public safety.
Cyclists riding on city pathways are limited to a speed of 20 km/h, and violating that can result in a $50 fine.
McIver said he heard from hundreds of cyclists that the speed limit is too low and they should be able to go faster when the path is clear.
“That seems perfectly reasonable,” he said.
Perfectly reasonable is right! And the 20 k.p.h. bylaw is perfectly unreasonable. Just one more deterrent against commuting by bicycle in this city (same with bridges that require cyclists to dismount to cross, bike paths that remain uncleared of snow and so on).
Obviously going more than 20 k.p.h. on the Eau Claire promenade at lunch hour is a bad idea. But on the Nose Creek pathway where there are hardly any people, you'd be a fool to keep your speed at 20 clicks, especially if you're commuting to downtown. The existing rule is a joke and everyone knows it. It's completely unreasonable and impractical.
I know this comes as a news flash to some people, but many cyclists, myself included, aren't pedaling around town just to enjoy ourselves (although it can be enjoyable, assuming you're not getting run off the road by some meatheaded asshole). We bike for the same reasons motorists drive: to get somewhere, to go from point A to point B. To go to work, meetings, wherever we have to be.
Imagine a 20 k.p.h. speed limit on the Deerfoot. It wouldn't fly, even though vehicle traffic on the Deerfoot is way more dangerous than cyclists on the pathways. Yet the city is more or less asking cyclists who live in areas like Beddington to crawl the long distance to work downtown, even when the pathways are clear and it's safe to let 'er rip. No wonder people leave the bike in the garage and just drive instead.
It's frustrating. City Hall has a tendency to talk up positive choices like cycling while putting up all kinds of barriers to deter people from actually riding their bikes to work. In the "Plan It" blueprint for the city's growth, cycling is supposedly a priority means of transportation, above cars even. Looks nice on paper, but we have yet to see it in practice. Reviewing this ill-conceived bylaw seems like a small but necessary step in turning a good idea into reality.