Natalie Sit spends a lot of time on her bike. She knows the fear that comes with vehicles getting too close in Calgary traffic.
“I used to ride on 12 Avenue before they had the cycle track and it was my least favourite part of the ride because you feel really unsafe,” said Sit who rode with her daughter in tow through Eau Claire on Sunday morning.
The City of Calgary is looking at making changes to transportation bylaws. One proposal would require drivers to give at least of one metre of space between themselves and anyone else on the road before passing.
“As a person who rides with their child on their bike, it’s a little hairy,” Sit said. “I look forward to the one-metre [space proposal] becoming law and hopefully something that people who drive cars respect.”
The city also wants to legalize the use of skateboards, in-line skates, electric scooters and electric wheelchairs on cycle tracks. However, cycling group Bike Calgary isn’t convinced the tracks are the best place for electric mobility devices because they tend to travel slower than bikes.
“The way that wheelchairs and mobility devices are used these days I would say they are more compatible with sidewalk users,” said Gary Millard, Bike Calgary president. “I haven’t heard of major conflicts in that area and so I want to make sure that we’re not creating bylaws that produce more conflict.”
Millard feels it’s safer for users travelling at the same speed to be grouped together — but also those requiring the same space.
“Things like in-line skaters, although they may travel at similar speeds, they sometimes have different space requirements.” Millard said. “So now you have to consider: do you have enough space in that cycling infrastructure?”
Millard agreed with the one-metre space rule saying it would likely encourage more people to cycle on the road.
“It’ll get people who are less comfortable interacting with traffic more comfortable and to give it a try because they know they have this legal space around them,” Millard said.
The proposed revisions would also allow cyclists to yield instead of coming to a full stop when entering a roadway from a pathway and there would be some changes to where drivers are permitted to park. Input is being collected through an online survey until Dec. 9.