Centretown residents target cyclists biking on sidewalks

Some Centretown residents are trying to reclaim a small stretch of sidewalk from cyclists who are riding on the sidewalk.

Residents hope signs, pamphlets will convince cyclists to walk their bikes

Some Centretown residents have put up signs asking cyclists to walk their bikes along sidewalks. (Ryan Gibson/CBC)

Some Centretown residents are trying to reclaim a small stretch of sidewalk from cyclists they say are disregarding the rules by riding on the sidewalk. 

People living along on Argyle Avenue near O'Connor Street hope a new awareness campaign will encourage cyclists to walk their bikes instead.

Sue Harris, who lives in a condominium at 160 Argyle Ave., said she's sometimes nearly run over by cyclists she doesn't see coming.

"Every day when I take my dog out for a walk, because it's a one-way street I usually just look left, and sometimes there's people on bikes coming down the sidewalk, almost running my dog and myself over," she said.

'It's getting worse,' resident says

A man who has lived in the neighbourhood for some time came up with the awareness initiative.

"We've noticed lately though that it's getting worse," said Bill Brown, who's lived at the Windsor Arms Apartments on Argyle Avenue for 30 years.

"I'm a cyclist, I have been my whole life, so I'm thrilled there are more people biking, but not on our sidewalk."

During the Monday afternoon commute, Brown and dozens of other families took to the sidewalks with large rectangular signs that read, "Please walk your bike." The signs have now been installed along Argyle Avenue.

Children drew messages in chalk along the sidewalks and parents used the opportunity to engage cyclists about their concerns.

Ottawa police officers handed out lights, reflective bands and pamphlets about safe cycling habits. 

"It's a real soft approach we're taking," Brown said. "We think that if cyclists know that kids live here, elderly people, disabled people, they'll not ride their bikes on our sidewalk."

Brown said the issue came to a head when the Beaver Barracks affordable housing project opened in the area. It's now home to dozens of children.