Update on massive increase of fines for cyclists from Ward 3 Calgary

“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.”

The Double Edged Blade of Life ebook now available on Apple iBooks!

https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-double-edged-blade-of-life/id1458254072?ls=1

A multi-genre novel with sci-fi, reincarnation, past lives, and spiritual teachings that provide an answer for today’s fast paced world: How do we survive our rapid technological development? What is the key to survival in these times?

If you liked Star Wars and Star Trek genres, and love to escape into stories with strong character development (a hero’s journey), you’ll love this!

Saying good-bye to Chester our Russian poodle.

Chester, our 14 year old miniature poodle was walking like he was drunk. Within a week, Chester’s health deteriorated quickly. He was breathing rapidly and there was a raspy sound to his breathing.

Chester kept waking up my wife all night so she knew something was terribly wrong. We took him to the emergency clinic the next morning. The X-ray photos of his lungs from two years ago were black, indicating healthy lungs. Now, the X-ray photos showed white splotches all over his lungs. How could his lungs deteriorate so quickly?

The vet had never seen such bad X-rays of a dog’s lungs. Chester could die any minute now, the vet said. Chester would continue struggling to catch his breath until he couldn’t.

Heart broken, my wife and I took Chester home to spend our last hours together and called our regular vet to come euthanize him.

The vet gave Chester a needle to put him to sleep. Now is the time Mahanta, I thought. I silently called to Prajapati (a spiritual master who helps animals) and the Mahanta (the Inner Master or Dream Master) to come. Please be with Chester and take him to where he needs to be so he won’t be afraid.

Chester became sleepy and laid down. I kept petting him all the while, remembering how I had held and hugged him so many times. This would be the last precious moments in his life here.

The vet gave Chester the second needle. Chester’s breathing slowed and stopped. A few minutes later his front leg twitched as Soul freed itself from his sick body.

I missed the sound of Chester jumping in the kitchen eager for his meal, and his walks with us, but now I had to let go and let God take over. It was difficult.

I opened the kitchen gate where our boxer, Nakita, was waiting. Nakita came over to sniff Chester. I hoped she would realize that Chester had translated so she would know why she doesn’t see him anymore. My wife talked to the vet. I sat quietly for a long time and wrapped Chester in his blanket so we could deliver his body to be cremated the next morning.

During my spiritual exercise that night I asked the Mahanta to let me hold Chester in the inner worlds and to love him one last time.

In a dream I was walking through a building looking for an elevator to take Chester downstairs. As I was walking along holding Chester to my chest, he became heavier and heavier. He was getting so heavy it was difficult to hold the little guy. As I lifted him to find a more comfortable position to carry him, he turned into an orange Pomeranian. I looked into his black eyes and realized those eyes were Chester’s eyes. He was at peace and calmly staring into my eyes as he often did.

Reincarnation is a central theme in the teachings of Eckankar. So if you see a newly born orange Pomeranian puppy, it might be Chester. Give him all your love and he’ll love you with all his heart. He’s a good little boy.

Airport Trail Pathway Condition

Have not ever seen Airport Trail left in such a mess after plowing. We had a winter cycling congress in Calgary at the beginning of February but in no way does it guarantee pathway plowing is improving. This is much worse and downright dangerous. As some people dig in their heels to improve winter cycling, others dig in their heels to do half a job.

Very dangerous to bike across here and almost impossible to do! Persevere!!

Was this even plowed?

This is on 96 ave near the Blue Ring.

Even sidewalks aren’t plowed because construction workers are parking on the sidewalk. But the grass is plowed🙈.

Fatbike required! Always wear a helmet when walking through badly plowed pathways and sidewalks says no one. Looks like you will need it here! Danger of avalanche?

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Nobody rides a bicycle in the winter: Councillor Sean Chu (Calgary)… despite the fact many do!

Construction closure at Coventry Lake Pathway
Harvest Hills Lake Pathway is being plowed this year. 👍🏻
Spectacular morning!
Pathway plowing ends here. School property ahead.
That’s not fog.
The snow is colder than the air and cools the air right next to the ground.
Here is a better photo showing the air flowing uphill and cooling into ice fog.
Does somebody have a bicycle snowplow here? Nice little walking path around the side of the lake.

The lock is to hold my pants up. 🤪 Just kidding. This is a convenient way to carry a Kryptonite bike lock and chain if your waist size is 34-36″. -25C feels a lot warmer on a bicycle. Nicely plowed pathway at the Giant Blue Ring dripping with icicles. All smiles.😁

Most bike fenders are too short

If you look at most bike fenders you will notice the bottom of the fender is at axle height. This ensures lots of mud and water will be thrown up.

On this particular bike, the fender brace screws are of soft metal and strip out when trying to remove them. Sometimes removing them is more trouble than it’s worth.

A second option is a downtube fender. Easily made from corrugated plastic sheets, you cut to size and poke a couple of holes through it on both sides of the downtube and secure with zip ties. Then paint to match the bike.

I made the downtube fender wide enough to cover the front of the crank, chain and chain guard to keep the chain clean. The short front fenders throw a lot of debris into the crank area. This will keep that rust prone area clean.

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For most bicycles, front fenders are too short!

Bontrager front fenders which I use on a couple of bikes are far too short. As a result, the front tires through up lots of crud onto the chain and crank area which leads to problems like poor shifting due to grit getting on the shift cables and front derailleurs. Here’s a fix.

You’ll need 3 sets of fenders to do 2 bikes. The Bontrager fenders have screws on the bottom of the front fenders which can be removed. Remove the rubber mud guard and screws on the fender you want to lengthen. If you cut the spare fender just above the two holes and below the fender bracket, you can insert that cut piece on the inside of the mounted fender and screw it on. For a second bike, cut the remaining fender to length and drill 2 holes to mount it on a second bike where you also removed the rubber mud guard at the bottom of the fender. it should look like this.