Charlottetown cyclist concerned about safety on popular multi-use path

·2 min read
'The bike path or the multi-use path is open to everybody which makes it very dangerous,' says 72-year-old Charlottetown cyclist Marlene Hunt. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
'The bike path or the multi-use path is open to everybody which makes it very dangerous,' says 72-year-old Charlottetown cyclist Marlene Hunt. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

A Charlottetown cyclist is raising concerns about the safety of the multi-use path at Victoria Park after she fell off her bike last year.

A busier tourism season is expected this summer as various COVID-19 restrictions are lifted after two years. And Marlene Hunt says that means too many people will be on the multi-use waterfront path that's open to cyclists, in-line skaters, skateboarders, runners and pedestrians.

"I have had issues with large families walking and they can't hear my bell, which is pretty loud," she said.

"I find it strange bicycles can't go on the boardwalk because it is meant for walkers and I understand that. So the bike path or the multi-use path is open to everybody which makes it very dangerous."

Hunt also wonders who is liable if an accident happens on the path.

"Last fall, I fell trying to avoid them and I'm just lucky nothing happened to them or to me," she said.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

She is fine sharing the road with other cyclists as well as scooters and skateboard which move fast — but when an entire family clogs up the trail she says it's difficult to manoeuvre around them.

"Not just walking in twos but five people blocking the whole way so that you can't get around without swearing and unfortunately having an accident," she said.

Hunt thinks bikers and skateboards should have the right of way over walkers on the path and she'd like to see walkers use the nearby boardwalk or another walking trail along the grass instead.

"I think that being active is very important and the city needs to come up with a plan on how to accommodate all of us. This is dangerous. I am 72 and I don't want to fall and break something."

All users are asked to respect others using the pathway and use extra caution in busy areas, city staff said in an email.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Cyclists should always signal with a bell or greeting when approaching a walker from behind, the email said.

Staff noted the Charlottetown cycling handbook is available online for anyone who wants to know rules around biking in the city.

Back when the multi-use path was a bike-only lane, the city put out multiple bulletins through the years reminding walkers to use the boardwalk. The latest reminder was in 2019 when the city stated that walking on the path was not permitted due to "safety reasons."

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