Sir: In regards to several letters that have appeared in The Chatham Voice in recent months regarding the change in sidewalk structure and appearance along Grand Avenue West from Keil Drive North to Bear Line.
I understand the concern and confusion for people who walk or ride mobility scooters or walk with walkers along that stretch of sidewalk. That sidewalk is not simply meant to be the domain of bicycles. The yellow line in the centre of the walkway is just to indicate that one should keep to the right of the direction they are walking on in the event they meet someone coming in the opposite direction.
Nothing more than that.
It’s similar to how traffic flows on our roads and streets in Canada and the U.S.
As far as bicycles using those walkways, they are only doing it because there is so much traffic flowing along that section of Grand Ave. W., that it is not safe for either bicyclists or pedestrians to walk along the side of that street.
If you’re walking on along any sidewalk anyway, persons should be aware of what is coming and going around them at all times, if possible. I know this is not the easiest thing to do especially if you’re using some sort of mobility device, or walking in groups, sometimes with children.
It is especially important to watch out in the winter months when there is snow and ice on the ground, and people are concentrating on walking and not falling on icy sidewalks.
I do not know how the local police view bicyclists using this piece of asphalt. I have heard that bicyclists can be ticketed for riding downtown sidewalks, but if you’re outside of the downtown core, the rules might be different.
I think the problem might be that our police have a lot of other things that are of more importance, and have such a great distance to cover that they can’t chase after every person who rides a bicycle and doesn’t obey the rules of travel.
I think the solution is that if there is a group of people or mobility machines travelling in one direction, meets another party going in the opposite direction on that stretch of sidewalk, just try to stay to the right when you pass each other. If that can’t be done, then someone will have to step aside to let another party pass.
As for the bicyclists who do not show respect for the rules of travel, I really don’t know what to say to them.
Be polite in dealing with them as giving them the single middle finger salute may cause more trouble than its worth.
Thanks to Mrs. Draper and the other residents of our city who also bring up this issue as it is always on ongoing situation.