Pedestrians at risk on sidewalks

Resident concerned that bicycles are going places they shouldn't be

I am a longtime resident of Vernon and feel it is time to voice my concerns about all the bicycles and e-bikes on our sidewalks.

As a child, I was taught that you ride your bicycle on the edge of the road, never on the sidewalk, and when crossing at a crosswalk, you get off your bike and push it because you are in a pedestrian area.

Now parents teach their children to ride on the sidewalks and never mind those people trying to walk there. More and more now, I see people, mainly adults who should know better, riding on the sidewalks. Recently, as a pedestrian in the downtown core, I was less than happy about having to dodge three bicycles on one street corner.

In most cities, it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk, yet Vernon seems to encourage this dangerous practice.

On 29th Street, from 43rd Avenue to 48th Avenue, the sidewalk is designated and posted as being shared between pedestrians and bicycles, and the RCMP never bother to stop people from riding on any of the sidewalks, endangering the safety of pedestrians.

It’s bad enough that people on bicycles are riding amongst pedestrians and treating us as if we are walking on their space rather than them riding on ours, but it has also become a common site in Vernon to see e-bikes (electronic bicycles) on the sidewalks too.

These are motor vehicles and have even less place on our sidewalks than do the peddle bikes.

I’ve several times heard the excuse that it’s dangerous to ride on the roads and safer for them to ride on the sidewalks.

OK, I understand that, however, it is far more dangerous for the pedestrian.

Where are pedestrians supposed to go to be safe while walking?  I drive a motorcycle, and in 2010 I was badly injured when hit by a car while riding down the street through Vernon, so yes, I really do understand how dangerous it is to be on our roads.

And yes, it would be a lot safer for me to ride my 1300cc motorcycle on the sidewalks too. I mean, if they can why not me? It was not fun having shattered and dislocated bones and my motorcycle trike destroyed and I too would like to feel safer out there.

Instead of riding/driving vehicles on the sidewalks, how about we make it harder for people to get drivers licences so that we can have fewer dangerous drivers on our streets and highways resulting in a safer commute for all of us?

If any pedestrian gets hit by a bicycle on the sidewalk in Vernon,  I only hope they sue not only the person who hits them, or the parents of said person, but also sue the City of Vernon and the RCMP for failing to keep our sidewalks and other pedestrian areas safe for pedestrian use.

 

A.G. Price