Mount Royal Cemetery threatens to ban cyclists if they don't slow down

Mount Royal Cemetery says cyclists have been treating its grounds like a 'training ground,' and it's asking them to be more respectful.

Management says cyclists have been travelling in packs of 20 people, treating cemetery like 'training ground'

Mount Royal Cemetery's executive director says he wants to keep the grounds open and available to everyone but an influx of cyclists threatens that. (Ben Shingler/CBC)

Mount Royal Cemetery is warning cyclists they will be banned from the grounds if they don't slow down and respect the sanctity of the site.

"We really don't want to ban cyclists," Mount Royal Cemetery executive director David Scott said. 

But he adds that's what they'll have to do if people don't respect their rules. Large packs of cyclists have been speeding through the cemetery's winding paths, oblivious to grieving families and those who've come to pay their respects, he said.

"Envision, if you, will arriving at the cemetery gate in a small funeral procession ... and you're stopped because there are thirty bicyclists passing by in a large group in front of you," Scott said.

He first noticed the trend last summer, and this year it's worse, he said. 

Cyclists have been looking for a place to train due to the partial closure of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this summer.

Marc Charette has enjoyed the cemetery's trails for the past five years. He agrees some people are disrespectful. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

In recent days, the cemetery started handing out yellow flyers that warn cyclists they will be banned if they're not more mindful of the space, and its primary role as a burial ground.

"In recent months, we have noted an influx of groups of cyclists who are abusing the privilege of access to our property by using it as a training ground," the flyer states.

"Many cemeteries ... have long since banned bicycles from their grounds. We will be forced to do so unless our Rules for Cyclists are respected by all." 

The rules include:

  • A speed limit of 10 km/h for cyclists.
  • Groups of more than four cyclists are not allowed.
  • Cyclists must ride single file and give priority to pedestrians.

Marc Charette, who has cycled through the cemetery regularly for the past five years, agrees that some people are disrespectful.

"Sometimes individuals go very fast, when they go down [the hills] they're very fast. Even for the cars it can be very dangerous," Charette said.

The cemetery is supposed to be a quiet space for reflection, but management says some cyclists have been abusing their access to the private property. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

He said he slows down when he cycles through the cemetery, but he does find the 10km/h limit to be a bit extreme.

Charette said a ban will punish all cyclists for the behaviour of few.

"That would be bad because only for a few cyclists that don't respect it, everybody is going to pay the price for it."

Scott said a ban is a last resort, and they're hoping cyclists will learn to be more respectful.

Mount Royal Cemetery has been open to the general public since it opened 1852.

Scott said he'd prefer things to stay that way.

"We'd like to keep it open for people to enjoy."

With files from Benjamin Shingler