No bikes allowed: Centennial Park closes off to cyclists during pandemic

Coronavirus: West Island municipality bans cyclists from park
WATCH: In an effort to promote physical and social distancing, the City of Dollard-des-Ormaux has temporarily banned bicycles from Centennial Park. City officials say there's not enough room for cyclists on the already packed trails that run through the park. The move comes just weeks after the city encouraged residents to report any group gatherings taking place there. Global's Felicia Parrillo has more.

Centennial Park in the West Island is known for its scenic trails, playgrounds and a place for people to bike safely.

But that changed last week.

“When there’s that many people on the park, in our paths, it’s just not safe to have bikes using them at the same time,” said Paul Desbarats, the city’s director of sports, recreation and culture.

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In order to respect social distancing rules in the park, the city put new measures in place.

Narrow trails are closed, people are only allowed to walk in one direction, the park is only accessible to Dollard-des-Ormeaux residents and now the city has also prohibited bicycles.

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“Bikes go a lot faster than walkers,” said Desbarats. “So you get some of the slalom effect.”

The city tries to make sure people abide by the rules by having public security patrol the park. So far, no fines have been issued

Those who use the park to walk say they agree with the new rule.

READ MORE: Montrealers desperate for bikes amid coronavirus shutdown

“It’s not really a cycling park, it’s a walking park,” said Dean Boyer.

The city suggests people use nearby bicycle paths to ride, but many say those are already overloaded.

“You have a lot of people walking on bike paths, as well, so you have to weave in and out of them,” said Dollard resident Rachel Shizgal.

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“So where can we cycle?”

The city says it realizes the new restrictions can be frustrating for some, but wants to reassure the public that the measures are only temporary and will be lifted as soon as it is deemed safe.

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