“Previously, the fine for unsafe speeding on a pathway was $100. The new Bylaw states a penalty range of $250 – $400 where the Officer uses their discretion. Some of that increase is simply inflation, as we decided that the minimum penalty for any offence that was safety related should be $250. The range up to $400 allows us to target serious offenders.
Our engagement revealed that excessive speed on a pathway, and unsafe behaviour in general, was a major concern. In fact a (small) majority of Engage respondents actually suggested that the speed limit should be lower than 20km/hr. However when we reviewed comments we realized that is wasn’t so much that park users wanted a lower speed limit, but just wanted cyclists to obey the existing bylaw. Knowing that, we wanted to increase the fine substantially to deter unsafe behaviour, and be significant enough that pathway users seriously consider the implications of unsafe behaviour.
It’s very important to note that this is a tool, and issuing a ticket is not done lightly by Bylaw Services. They tend to only respond in areas that have frequent complaints, and always use education and warnings over fines.
What we considered when developing the Bylaw:
· We considered different speeds for different pathways, or even different times of day to allow for commuters. However we felt it would be confusing to the public, especially as at the time school zones were being phased into playground zones because it was felt the different times were confusing to drivers.
· Since the previous Bylaw, we have introduced cycle tracks and designated roads where cyclists can generally go 50km/hr. Looking at feedback from Engage, we realize that people expect the pathways to be used for recreation (and therefore a slower pace), and commuting is better done in the cycle tracks and roads.
· Finally we also considered graduated fines, similar to motor vehicle accidents, but the speed increments seemed to be very small and viewed as fussy (especially knowing we rarely issue a ticket). In addition, our engagement revealed that it isn’t just the speed that is the issue, but unsafe behaviour (getting cut off was cited frequently). Instead the range of fines is stated which gives Officers some flexibility depending on the situation.
The decision to keep the speeds at 20 km/hr is due to safety. This speed limit is to ensure that both cyclists and pedestrians are able to use the pathway comfortably and safely, as most of the pathways throughout the city are considered multi-use (a few notable exceptions are the twinned pathways throughout the Bow River pathway and around Glenmore) and pedestrians do not move at the same speed as a commuter cyclist. When the safety audit was done for pathways the primary concerns were around safety of the users on the pathway, and lower speeds are one of the methods to ensure that accidents are less severe, and reaction time is improved by both cyclists and pedestrians.
Pedestrians do not have the same level of protection (ie helmet, etc) if a cyclists collides with them, and this can lead to accidents where the cyclist is largely unhurt but the pedestrian is left in critical condition, regardless of whether the cyclist was riding excessively fast or not. With the inclusion of e-bikes and other power-assisted methods of travel on the pathways, those speeds have potential to increase further, in excess of 40km/hr, with increased bike weight. Lower speeds are one of the few ways to ensure any incidents such as this are mitigated.
The Nose Creek pathway has had a number of improvements and lifecycle projects performed on it throughout the last number of years, including the addition of the TransCanada Trail segment from Confluence Park to 96 Av. NE, the improvements to the Fox Hollow Golf course area, re-alignments north of Memorial Dr. to 16 Av. NE, and Laycock Park pathways, in addition to smaller spot treatments to improve the safety of the pathway. The larger projects that have been done over the past few years can be found on our Lifecycle and Missing Link Map (https://maps.calgary.ca/PathwaysandBikeways/).
Regarding the pathway closure along the Greenway in north Calgary, it was closed earlier last fall in the community of Carrington as a result of micro-tunneling work under Stoney Tr. NW. by Water Services, and unfortunately there were no alternatives to assist users with getting around the site without having users ride on the road shoulder, which does not provide a safe alternative to the pathway and we could not offer this route. The pathway at the time was not complete at the west end, and did not connect to the larger network so there was little risk to have users come from the west side through.”