By Wendy Elliott
Some vulnerable Wolfville residents are having trouble dodging bicycles on town sidewalks.
Joan Boutilier, who is legally blind and physically active, is one of those pedestrians who wishes cyclists would stay on the road.
She says three seasons of the year, “the beautiful sidewalks of Wolfville become treacherous for those of us unable to cycle due to physical disability.”
Boutilier has written council twice because “cyclists ignore the law, use sidewalks as bike lanes, and zip by with no warning, oblivious to the danger they pose to vulnerable seniors, the blind, the deaf, and members of our beloved l'Arche community.”
While she strongly supports the safe use of bicycles as a means of healthy and sustainable transit, Boutilier has “serious concerns about the alacrity with which some cyclists use our public sidewalks as a bike path.”
She points to the sidewalks on both sides of Main Street, from Clock Park to the western town limits.
“Nearly every time I walk from my home to downtown Wolfville, I am passed by one to three cyclists, riding on the sidewalk,” she says. “They do not use any audible warning (bicycle bell or horn) and, quite often, they pass close enough to touch me. This is startling and disconcerting - and I expect any day to be accidentally run down.”
Coun. Carl Oldham told fellow council members about an older woman who was knocked over by a cyclist on the sidewalk near the Save-Easy Store.
Council has also received a letter with a similar concern from a new resident of Wolfville.
Wolfville town council may consider signage, an education program or street patrols by the bylaw officer to curb cyclists who impede pedestrians.
The town’s police advisory committee began looking at the problem recently and will forward recommendations to council.
The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act, Section 171 (2), specifically forbids adult cyclists to ride on a sidewalk.