Cycling on sidewalks

Stealth cyclists a danger to pedestrians

I’m waiting for a bus when a cyclist whizzes by from behind on the sidewalk. I didn’t see or hear him. If I’d shifted position, I’d have been knocked down with broken bones, sprained joints, or—at best—torn skin and bruises. Why was he on the sidewalk going top speed?

I join the ranks of those voicing the number one concern about life in Penticton: safety. We can’t depend on the police or the three bylaws officers and their supervisor to keep us safe on our sidewalks.

Bikes on sidewalks are a regular occurrence. Each time I’m startled if the bike comes fast from behind. I have the same reaction with disability scooters that make no noise.

Riders expect me to maintain my position or stride on the sidewalk.

City council is considering a city-length cycling route that people of all ages, from children to elders, can safely enjoy. But that doesn’t help today’s problem. At present, cyclists—me included—can’t use Main Street. We have to make do with routes to the east and west. As I walked home from the downtown event after the bus stop incident, I was confronted with more cyclists bearing down on me.

What am I supposed to do? Slow-moving, polite cyclists on the sidewalks I tolerate, but what about the stealth speedsters? For now, I’d be grateful if cyclists or people on disability vehicles coming up from behind me just use a bell, travel slowly, and give me a verbal note of intention such as “Passing on your left.”

If you have cyclists in your family or friendship circle or in an organization where you do volunteer work, please remind them of their obligation to help keep pedestrians safe. I’m a confirmed cyclist and don’t own a vehicle. I regularly walk and use the city buses. I need your help to keep all pedestrians safe as we walk about our city.

Merle Kindred

Penticton

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