Skateboards, scooters and rollerblades could soon be allowed on Calgary’s cycle track network.
On Wednesday, councillors will review a report from city administrators that recommends a series of bylaw changes “to increase the safety and accessibility for a variety of transportation modes for Calgarians.”
If approved, the changes would also allow devices like electric scooters to use the cycle tracks.
The president of Bike Calgary, Gary Millard, tells Global News his group doesn’t mind sharing Calgary’s cycle track network.
“We think the cycle tracks are an excellent piece of infrastructure that allow vehicles to travel in between the speeds you see on sidewalks and roadways. We’re not too particular if it happens to be bikes, skateboards or scooters, as long as they can integrate safely and conveniently,” Millard said.
Millard said sidewalks exist for walking speeds 3-10 km/h, while downtown city streets are for vehicles in the 40-50 km/h range. For many years, what was missing was a space for those travelling in the 20-30 km/h range, like cyclists.
“Bikes can travel very conveniently without having to interact both with pedestrians or motor vehicles, but it’s not just bikes that travel at that speed,” Millard said.
“We are really seeing a transition from just manual power and just internal combustion engine cars, adding in these electric motors, and we are seeing e-assist bikes and electric assist scooters. I think we have to understand that technology is part of our society now and we have to figure out where it’s going to fit in our transportation system.”
Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating said he has heard some negative feedback from cyclists.
“I have heard a few comments (like), ‘As a commuter, I want to get from point A to point B as fast as I can. And the more you put on a space, then the more difficult it is to maneuver around them because not all of these modes can go as fast as other ones.'”
“But the skateboards, the scooters, it’s the same thing as we have to do on our vehicle roads,” Keating said. “I would say, just keep an eye out and maneuver around.”
In addition to allowing vehicles other than bikes on cycle tracks, the proposed transportation bylaw amendments include mandating more space for vehicles to pass cyclists on city roads, by creating a so-called safe passing bylaw.
The proposed bylaw would require anyone on city roads to have at least one metre of separation when passing a cyclist going in the same direction, or 1.5 metres if the speed limit is more than 60 km/h.
“It’s always been a requirement to pass other roadway users safely,” Millard said. “It just hasn’t been clear what a safe distance is. Specifying one meter for speeds under 60 km/h and a metre and a half for speeds over 60 km/h just makes it more clear. It helps drivers and cyclists understand what safe passage is.”