How We Dwell: Beware the denizens of the pathway

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With 1,000 kilometres of paved multi-use pathways, Calgary has probably the most intensive city community in North America. This distinctive system of strolling and biking paths is considered one of our metropolis’s best belongings, a gateway to getting exterior for train, having fun with Mom Nature and exploring elements of Calgary you’d in any other case by no means see.

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Now that we’re in full-blown spring/summer season, I’m again on the pathways loads, each as a bike owner and as a pedestrian. Principally, it’s pure pleasure — save for an assortment of fellow pathway customers who exhibit less-than-stellar consciousness of others round them. You’ve most likely encountered them too: the pace demon who steams your tail on a crowded path; the daydreamer who halts mid-track to test their cellphone; the headphone-wearing human and their off-leash canine wandering throughout the pathway.

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To amuse myself, I started lumping these denizens of the pathways into just a few broad classes or “species.” Right here’s the breakdown of who they’re and the place to identify them, together with a useful assessment of the suitable pathway etiquette, bylaws and legal guidelines designed to maintain everybody harmoniously strolling and rolling alongside.

A cyclist speeds through Fish Creek Park
A bike owner enjoys a sunny day at Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary. Postmedia Photograph by Steven Wilhelm /jpg


The Center-Aged Man In Lycra needs to go as quick as doable on his smooth trip. I as soon as noticed a MAMIL yell at a small youngster standing close to the pathway beside a playground: “Look out, little woman! Look out, little woman!” I assume he simply wanted to maintain his coronary heart price within the peak zone as an alternative of behaving like an grownup.

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Habitat: They’re all over the place, typically in packs, however MAMILS’ pure habitat must be discovered on coaching rides alongside roads and trails exterior the town.

Guidelines to notice: Metropolis of Calgary bylaws prohibit the utmost pace on pathways to twenty kilometres per hour until in any other case posted. For security, trip single file. Provincial regulation requires all cyclists to make use of the suitable hand indicators and do a shoulder test earlier than turning or altering lanes.

Penelope, 5, and Declan, 8, with parents Chris and Ashley Main cruised the paths at Bowness Park in August 2022. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Penelope, 5, and Declan, 8, with dad and mom Chris and Ashley Principal cruised the paths at Bowness Park in August 2022. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photograph by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

The Wobbler

This species is to not be confused with babies who’re studying to trip a motorbike and should be heartily inspired by everybody on the pathways. Wobblers are grownup cyclists who is perhaps slightly unsteady originally of the season or who haven’t been on a motorbike in years. Be careful! The Wobbler weaves on each side of the pathway and must be given a large berth.

Habitat: The busiest doable pathways on peak vacation weekends.

Guidelines to notice: Preserve to the fitting aspect of the pathway until passing. Provincial regulation requires that every one bicycles (even classic ones) want some gear: at the least one working brake and a white-light headlight, a red-light tail mild and a crimson rear reflector if driving at daybreak, nightfall or at nighttime.

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Everybody should have a bell or horn — together with these happy with their high-end carbon-fibre racing bikes.

The Bike Mind

A number of the most aggressive customers on our pathways are cycle commuters hellbent on attending to work or residence, AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. They appear to have forgotten that these multi-use pathways aren’t their private expressways. Centered on crushing their commute with a single-minded dedication, these dudes develop a cognitive dysfunction — name it “bike mind” — during which they fail to acknowledge different pathway customers as fellow people and never opponents in a dwell online game.

Habitat: Typically encountered racing within the reverse lane on blind corners or instantly showing out of nowhere.

Guidelines to notice: Ringing your bell or calling out “In your left” to alert others when passing or approaching a blind spot corresponding to a nook or hill isn’t only a good gesture, it’s a metropolis bylaw. Additionally see: most 20 km/h on pathways.

An e-biker enjoys wam weather in Bowness park.
An e-cyclist spends the nice and cozy and sunny fall afternoon at Bowness Park. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Photograph by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

The E-Noob

Juiced by electrical energy, the E-Noob could be noticed zooming alongside at a clip utterly out of proportion to their bodily output. They’re understandably enamoured of their new e-bikes however sometimes unschooled in pathway etiquette. And their bike dealing with expertise and response instances aren’t all the time optimum. I’ve acquired nothing in opposition to e-bikes (OK, perhaps slightly resentment once I’m busting my hump going up a steep hill and a sweat-free e-biker sails previous, ta-rah!). Sometime, I’ll be an E-Noob too and hope to keep away from turning into a hazard to myself and others.

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Habitat: Extensive-ranging in each city and rural settings however restricted by battery capability.

Guidelines to notice: Provincial regulation mandates that bicycle helmets should be worn on electrical or power-assist bicycles, no matter age. Helmets are required for pedal bicyclists solely beneath the age of 18 however are inspired for all. Additionally see: most 20 km/h on pathways.

The Energy Ranger

Like The E-Noob, The Energy Ranger is a more moderen species flocking to pathways. Shared scooters and e-bikes are sensible methods to get across the metropolis for brief journeys — hop on, hop off with out breaking a sweat. Shared e-bikers should comply with common bicycle guidelines however in contrast to cyclists, e-scooter riders are permitted on empty sidewalks. Add within the yahoo issue of these interested in e-scooters and they could be a public menace. Look out, woman!

Habitat: The downtown core, notably close to the Peace Bridge the place there’s ample alternative to see and be seen.

Guidelines to notice: There’s a hefty $400 high quality for reckless e-scooting and a $75 one for driving double. The businesses who function e-scooters also can decide to high quality riders for dumping their scooters in the course of sidewalks like damaged toys as soon as they’re executed with them.

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The Oblivious

Into this catch-all species, fall each pedestrians and those that roll: the aforementioned headphone wearer; the shirtless BMXer popping on and off the pathway into the comb; the large group strolling in a gaggle; the household with darting youngsters. All of life’s wealthy pageant is discovered on our pathways. A number of of The Oblivious genuinely don’t know th
e principles of pathways, just a few are renegades who don’t need to get alongside however I believe most simply aren’t paying consideration.

Habitat: Extensive-ranging.

Guidelines to notice: Bear in mind. Step off or pull your bike or scooter proper off the pathway to relaxation or take a photograph. Decrease the amount in your headphones so you possibly can hear what’s taking place round you. Preserve canines leashed and thoughts the kiddies. Give youngsters, canines, pedestrians and fewer skilled pathway customers the fitting of means. Say due to those that transfer apart whenever you’re on a bicycle or scooter. Smile and nod to individuals. Be nice!

Following these fundamental tips and a few widespread courtesy will go an extended strategy to enhancing the pathway expertise for all.

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