Pedestrians say Calgary bike detour 'bullying' them off nearby sidewalk

Since July, a confusing detour has plagued the Parkdale area and nearby residents are still seeing fallout as cyclists go from the pathway system on to nearby sidewalks.

River pathway closure means cyclists and pedestrians have been detoured

Alexis Paul lives in the Parkdale area and works as a dog walker. She says since the city put up a pathway detour, cyclists are taking over the sidewalk. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Alexis Paul watches as a cyclist pedals up the sidewalk on Parkdale Boulevard N.W., then tells the pedaller to get off the sidewalk.

For  Paul, it's the final straw and she's frustrated.

Since July a confusing detour in northwest Calgary has plagued the area and nearby residents are still seeing the fallout as bikers go from the pathway system on to nearby sidewalks.

The detour was put in place between 14th Street and 29th Street N.W. on the north side of the Bow River, as crews work on storm water system upgrades.

Construction will continue until October.

The map of the closure and schedule for the Bow River pathway upgrades.

When the pathway detour initially went up, bike commuters were shocked and confused. Some took dangerous turns stepping or riding on the busy, nearby stretch of Memorial Drive.

At that time the city ramped up communication about the detour on the pathway side of the road — but Paul said more is needed for the residential sidewalks across the street. 

"They still think they can just ride the sidewalk and we've got seniors and myself with dogs trying to walk and they are bullying us off, calling us names," she said. "You have to look behind you and in front of you every single second because you don't know what's coming."

According to the city's detour map, cyclists are to use the nearby roadway on 1st Avenue N.W. while pedestrians are rerouted along the sidewalk.

In a written statement, Sherri Zickefoose, spokesperson for the City of Calgary, wrote that they are looking into the matter. 

"Anytime people have a concern, we urge them to call 311 because we want to know what we can do to help," wrote Zickefoose. "We do the best that we can and we recognize this is an inconvenience."

She said the city encourages everyone to be safe.

"That means if you're a pedestrian, always walk on the right hand side to stay safe and make room for faster walkers, runners and cyclists to pass easily," wrote Zickefoose.

More signs needed

Paul said she has to change her dog walking route because her smaller dogs are in danger of being trampled while bigger pups want to chase cyclists off the walkway.

When she does choose the sidewalk on the north side of Parkdale Boulevard, she said she's vocal to cyclists, telling them it's the law to dismount or bike on the road.

She's called the city about her encounters, without much response, but said what might help are signs placed along her side of the road to indicate the sidewalk is a pedestrian detour and not intended for bikes to use.

Not the 'Tour de France'

Sylvia Northgrave also lives in the area and noticed more sidewalk bikers in the last few months. She said she's had a hip replacement and has trouble moving around as has been asked to step aside by cyclists using the sidewalk.

"This isn't the Tour de France, they're riding at far too high a speed," Northgrave said. "To me, this sidewalk isn't wide enough for bikes and human beings to be on … I don't need someone to tell me to move, because I can't."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?