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.