Police Crackdown

Received a press release from the Regina Police Service yesterday stating that they would be stepping up enforcement of a city bylaw that prohibits alternative modes of transportation outside of walking on City Square plaza. Here’s what the release says:

The Regina Police Service is reminding the public that skateboarding is not allowed in the downtown, which includes the new CitySquarePlaza.  Police will be stepping up enforcement of the City of Regina Traffic Bylaw sections that pertain to bicycles, and pedestrian assisted activities including in line-skates, scooters and skateboards in Regina’s downtown.

The Traffic Bylaw 9900 clearly states that bicycles shall not be driven on a pedestrian mall and there is also a clear prohibition of any pedestrian-assisted activity (including skateboarding) on sidewalks in the downtown and any pedestrian mall.  As an example, anyone found skateboarding on the City Square plaza is subject to a $60.00 ticket under the Traffic Bylaw.

As a cyclist, I have a bit of a problem with this. I’d never cycle through the plaza during a time of peak usage like when the Farmers’ Market is on or there’s a lunch hour crowd lined up to partake of the food truck food. But I live on the Scarth Street Mall, and if I was headed somewhere southwest of the downtown, like to the 13th Ave Safeway to pick up groceries for example, during a non-peak time when the plaza is virtually deserted, I think I’d prefer to take that route (while cycling at a safe speed) instead of 11th Ave west to Albert St. or a pinched Hamilton St. south to 13th Ave.

I don’t see a problem with skateboarders cutting through the plaza on their way somewhere else during those times either. Using the plaza as an unofficial skateboard park is probably another matter as that sort of activity does tend to damage the concrete and wood structures that the skaters use to practice their jumps on.

Having said all that, I cringe every time I see some bonehead cyclist moving at break-neck speed through the Scarth Street Mall on a busy summer day, or doing the same on a downtown sidewalk, whizzing past pedestrians and flying through crosswalks with no thought for the safety of themselves and other people. I also see motorized scooters on the mall during busy day-time periods and they can move at a pretty good speed.

Hell, even opening the downstairs door to our office can be dangerous on occasion as some people who are passing through the mall (including skateboarders) don’t like the paving stones and prefer to stick to the ribbon of concrete that’s laid out along the mall’s west edge. But if they’re moving too quickly, you can’t see them coming, and no matter how cautiously you open the door, the potential of a collision exists.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

15 thoughts on “Police Crackdown”

  1. Maybe you wouldn’t ride your bike through the Farmers Market, Mr. Beatty, but an astonishing number of people – and by people, I mean men – do so. I’ve been making a habit of thanking people I see walking their bikes through the Market (they seem surprised, as if their action is a no-brainer), and of politely asking those who ride through to walk instead. The usual response from the latter group is pretending not to hear, or a snotty remark.

  2. It is proper bicycling etiquette, to actually get off your ride, and make your own path through any crowd anywhere. That’s how I do it.

    The police should start handing out tickets to “cyclists” that ride the wrong way in the traffic lane.

  3. I speed up when I see large crowds and stick my elbows and legs out to make sure I peg off as many slow-witted farmer’s marketeers as possible. “Outta my way, hippies!” I like to yell, like that guy in Happy Endings.

    Seriously tho, aside from crotchety middle-aged complaining about bikes and skateboards, this bylaw is pretty lame and reinforces the NO-FUN doctrine that guides most Regina activities. When not in use, the plaza is big enuf for skateboarders, bikers, unicyclists, and mimes. I’m not going to stop biking across the plaza just because police want to increase revenue collecting activities. Obv if there’s an activity on, I would go avoid it.

  4. By the way, wasn’t this plaza space originally supposed to remain a road, closeable only in the event of a special event? I’m sure a cyclist could easily fight a lame ticket based on that argument.

    Has the Lorne-Scarth stretch of 12th Avenue officially been “de-listed” (or whatever) as a city road and converted into a legally defined as a “pedestrian mall”? Or are we still in anecdotal mode?

  5. “crotchety middle-aged complaining” hardly describes a concern for safety, both pedestrians’ and cyclists’/skateboarders’. On the other hand, I may have a new euphemism to use when someone is being completely OTL: “don’t be a Talbot”.

  6. Just for fun,let’s keep it as a “pedestrian” mall.

    Bicyle infractions are easy for johnny, how many j-walking tix are the RPS handing out? Smoking within 3m of the door to a public building too.

  7. I got into a disagreement with crotchety old people on Twitter, one only in his late teens by the look of his profile picture, who figures that it’s sensible policy for a city to give tickets to people able to self-power their wheeled movements. To be “safe”, better to burn some gas, and avoid the possible ticket from the nebulously targeted “downtown” area, eh? (Just not safe from the risk of diabetes.)

    We have to give our heads a collective shake that the lack of courtesy of a few cyclists and skateboarders, spurs the RPS into action by lying in wait to give tickets to people biking down a paved park closed to motor vehicles and intended for people to attend in Summer especially. Beach-front cities would laugh at our anti-people bylaw, chasing away fun loving young and old alike with the threat of police action if they use any of those new-fangled devices like skates with wheels on them.

  8. Just for fun,let’s keep it as a “pedestrian” mall.

    Bicyle infractions are easy for johnny, how many j-walking tix are the RPS handing out? Smoking within 3m of the door to a public building too.

    The Cheapest denominator, is to just paint ,( well all of Regina’s road’s again), the “Shared Use ” logo, on more, way more ave’s, drive’s, blvd’s, etc..

    I really appreciate the fact that Regina integrated,the bike path we have now,but it is not truly incorporated with the traffic system.IE ; where I( we ),need to get to.

  9. Whenever the topic arises of treating cyclists like the vehicle drivers they are, cyclists immediately cloud and evade the issue by making this bike vs. car. It is not: it is bike vs. pedestrian, and I am tired of the attitude prevalent among cyclists in Regina that their “green mode” of transportation trumps my safety as a pedestrian. I have observed far more courtesy from skateboarders. Do you know how many bicycle bells I’ve heard used in the near-quarter-century I’ve lived here? One.
    We’re not a beach-front city, so why should we adopt their rules or lack of rules? We aren’t demonstrating anti-people or anti-fun attitudes: we’re demanding common courtesy.

  10. Hey Barb, I agree with you. Bikes are vehicles. Having said that… the plaza is usually deserted. Like, tumbleweeds blowing over Italian paving stones deserted. It would be wise to make bike/skateboard enforcement a very low priority most days.

    If/when the plaza opens to traffic, the bikes should definitely stick to the road, and if it’s a one-way (ugh), the correct direction.

  11. The renovation of 12th avenue was to make it a flexible multi-use space, which was supposed to be paved FROM THE PARK TO THE BUILDINGS, according to the WOW project. It was to cost about $1 million dollars, to become a street which COULD be closed off to traffic for special events.

    It was to remain a road, to activate the downtown space- sidewalk cafes with passing traffic for safely in numbers and more ‘eyes on the street’. We had 3 sessions of consultations to discuss this, and this Downtown Plan was approved by the City of Regina City Council.

    There was no talk of destroying the design of Victoria Park (a Frederick Todd designed park), no discussion of cutting down trees or removing the carefully designed meandering path in the trees to create a bare hot space with a big arc and little shade, nor of this street not being a street!! A street is meant to channel downtown traffic!!

    It became a $13 million project where now, the ‘street’ is cluttered with huge lamps, concrete lumps, and wooden sheds and boardwalk (the shed seems to have no purpose but to block any vista the plaza was meant to create).

    12th avenue is a street. I will admit that cars being guided by big plastic plant pots is about the strangest traffic control that I have ever seen (and those pots take up a lot of space), but if cars are allowed on the ‘plaza’ from time to time, it is still a street. Bicycles should be allowed to ride on this street – to at least get to the bike stands! (The bikestands are great! functional,, useful and a great simple clean design – unlike everything else on the ‘plaza’, which is so over-wrought and over-sized – not at all to a human pedestrian scale).

    I agree that bikes should not ride through crowded areas. That only makes sense. I don’t even like to push my bike through the market – it is too awkward.

    However, the plaza is often empty, and 12th Avenue is often the sanest route to go from RPL to Rob Bos Gallery. I am sure that cars would rather that bikes stayed on 12th Avenue downtown than on 11th Avenue or Victoria Avenue.

    As cyclists, we choose routes where we are not in the way of traffic – when possible. The buses on 12th Avenue have made the former through road of 12th Avenue (which was my former route from the Lawson to the RPL rather dangerous – so as a cyclist downtown, until we develop more bike lanes, we have to be cunningly careful as we plan our routes.

    (Bikes stands downtown seem to be continually moved or removed, too! Where do they go??!)

  12. Jesus, I can’t wait for the first tyme I’m slowly cycling across the plaza at 6km/h and some cop jumps out from behind the wooden outhouse and tazes me in the throat with a $130 infraction to the mind.

  13. And now my bike is stolen. Great.

    Before it was today, I was at the Farmer’s Market, and it was packed. No one could ride a bike through there if they tried.

    I don’t get why previous politicians think it’s more important to position police at the Plaza on the possibility they can profit from an improper peddler, rather than at least doing a token look-around for a reported recently-stolen bike.

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