Council aims to help Saskatoon cyclists navigate 'imperfect system'
SASKATOON -- City Council on Monday approved changes to how cyclists can navigate through the Saskatoon.
"It's an imperfect system," Ward 6 Coun. Cynthia Block said. "This will help cyclists navigate the imperfect system."
Administration had recommended that cyclists not be restricted to riding in dedicated bike lanes and allowing children under the age of 14 to cycle on sidewalks.
Restricting cyclists to the dedicated bike lanes made it difficult for cyclists to make left-hand turns at an intersection and the dedicated lanes trap cyclists in the event there's a blockage or snow piling up on the bike lane, according to an administration report.
However, these recommendations were met with questions and concerns from Saskatoon Cycles, who said there should not be an age restriction or any kind of cyclist prohibition on sidewalks.
"There are places in Saskatoon where no one should ride a bicycle … but we have some areas where there is very little pedestrian traffic or there's no one there at the moment and because of the amount of vehicle traffic, going on the sidewalk makes the most sense," said James Arnold with Saskatoon Cycles.
Randy Pshebylo with the Riversdale Business Improvement District (BID) told council because of the busy commercial district of 20th Street West, the BID board opposes any cyclist from cycling on the sidewalks.
"The present bylaw prohibiting bicycles, skateboards and longboards in the commercial district is easy to understand and enforce and is support by the BID board," Pshebylo said.
Ward 2 Coun. Hilary Gough and Ward 7 Coun. Mairin Loewen proposed the city allow guardians accompanying children under the age of 14 be allowed to cycle on the sidewalks as well. That motion was defeated, as was the motion that all cyclists be allowed on sidewalks at pedestrian speed if the street has become hazardous.
Council did approve of not restricting cyclists to the dedicated bike lanes as well as allowing children under the age of 14 to cycle on sidewalks; council also directed administration to consult with the business improvement districts on possible restrictions on cycling on sidewalks.