On the morning of August 10, sidewalks around the downtown Fernie area were painted with a no cycling sign, as a reminder for citizens to either ride on the road or walk their bikes.
Riding bikes on the sidewalks has not been allowed since the implementation of the Streets and Traffic Bylaw No. 1400 in 1985. This bylaw repealed an older bylaw from 1972.
This bylaw applies to both children and adults, and now also applies to skateboards and roller blades.
According to the Municipal Ticket Information Bylaw, the fine for riding on the sidewalk is $50.00.
According to Fernie’s Bylaw Enforcement &Response to Citizen Complaints policy, they must issue a reminder if a certain bylaw is not being obeyed. This was the reason for the stenciling of the sidewalks; to raise awareness and promote education.
“After a number of complaints from residents were submitted to Bylaw Services, the team started an awareness campaign to educate people on the restrictions set out in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw no. 1400,” reads a report by the City of Fernie.
“Biking images have now been painted on 2nd Avenue sidewalks to alert residents and visitors that cycling is not permitted. This stretch is being focused on due to the high traffic nature of the area, and the concentration of complaints pertaining to the issue downtown,” it continued.
The City partnered with the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, and talked to 10 business owners downtown to find out what they thought about the ‘no cycling on the sidewalk’ bylaw. None of these businesses were opposed to the idea, and some even thought cycling on the sidewalk took away from their business.
The response from the public on social media was mixed. Some were opposed to the new logos, saying that there are no options presented as a replacement for riding on the sidewalks. Some proposed painting bike lanes on the street, so that drivers are more aware. Others said that there is no room for bike lanes on an already congested street. Some suggested that children don’t ride fast enough to pose a threat, and that there is a large risk forcing them onto the street. In response to this, some suggested they ride on adjacent streets, such as 3rd Avenue which is not as busy with traffic. Some even proposed making 2nd Avenue a one-way street, with 1st Avenue running the opposite way.
Read more about the bylaw at Fernie.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/564?preview=46794.