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Sidewalk safety in spotlight

Painted signs on sidewalks and posters lining the Whyte Avenue stripremind cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders that using thesidewalk comes with a price.

Painted signs on sidewalks and posters lining the Whyte Avenue strip remind cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders that using the sidewalk comes with a price.

The week of Aug. 11-16 will be used to inform riders that the sidewalks of Whyte Avenue are for pedestrian use only by issuing warnings. The following week, however, police officers will be cracking down with fines ranging from $100-$250.

“The summer months always bring a lot of people to the Whyte Avenue sidewalks,” Const. Rohitas Chandra said. “This is about ensuring the safety of pedestrians.”

Old Strathcona Business Association executive director Shirley Lowe said businesses are receiving complaints from customers about the traffic of cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders.

“A lot of them worry about opening the door and hitting one of them,” Lowe said. “Others have said they felt they were going to get run down.”

With the Fringe beginning this week, Lowe said it’s important that walking remains the main mode of transportation on Whyte Avenue, and it’s better to enforce rules now rather than after someone gets injured.

Augustine Imad said he wants more of a warning period before enforcement.

“I don’t think it’s fair to do this on such short notice,” Imad said. “There should have been a warning at the beginning of the year so everyone is aware.”

Chandra said the force has been working to inform people about the laws verbally, but the message wasn’t getting across.

If caught biking, rollerblading or skateboarding between 99 Street and 109 Street, fines start at $100. If someone is being reckless with any of these transportation methods, fines could reach $250. The only exception is for bicycles with tires with a diameter 50 centimetres or less.

It’s encouraged that all cyclists, rollerbladers, and skateboarders use the road instead of sidewalks.

 
 
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