Frustration grows as cyclists refuse to get off Winnipeg’s sidewalks

If you’ve walked down the street in Winnipeg, it’s a situation you’ve most likely encountered. A bike whizzing past you on the sidewalk.“It can be annoying when you’re walking along, then somebody is dinging at you and then dinging at you again,” one Winnipeg pedestrian told Global News.Bike Winnipeg’s Mark Cohoe says cyclists on the sidewalk is a problem that isn’t going away any time soon.“One of the things we hear most frequently from people biking is that they simply don’t feel safe riding on the streets with traffic,” says Cohoe.Stretches notorious for people biking on the sidewalk include the Osborne street bridge and St. Mary’s Road just south of Stradbrook Avenue.The St. Mary’s stretch includes a protected bike lane with a barrier separating cyclists from the road.

A separated bike lane on St. Mary’s Road.

A separated bike lane on St. Mary’s Road.Randall Paull / Global News
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Cohoe believes the answer is to build more protected bike lane.“We know from research that people prefer a sidewalk over mixed traffic, or being in a bike lane next to traffic. But with a protected bike lane, especially where you can have parked cars in between the bike lane and the traffic, it provides that sense of safety.”A fine for riding your bike on the sidewalk can cost you $113, but many cyclists seem undeterred.READ MORE: Bike theft numbers heat up in Winnipeg over summer“Sometimes you just don’t have enough room on the road,” said one cyclist.“Sometimes it’s scary to drive on the roads, never mind biking, so when I bike, I bike on the side walk,” said another.The Winnipeg Police Service hands out roughly 100 tickets each year to cyclists who ride on sidewalks.So far in 2019, 35 cyclists have been hit with fines for riding on the sidewalk.READ MORE: 20 Winnipeg schools to receive bike cages as part of new partnershipThe City of Winnipeg declined an on-camera interview request, but a written statement said the City continues to expand pedestrian and cycling networks.A spokesperson for the Public Works Department wrote:“Riding a bicycle on a City sidewalk is not allowed. We encourage cyclists to follow the law and utilize the approximately 400 kilometres of designated cycling paths that are currently in place in the city.”WATCH: It’s Bike to Work Week in Winnipeg