Revamp for bylaw amendment over cyclists, parade permits

A proposed amendment to the traffic bylaw to allow cyclists to get a parade permit will be sent back to civic administration for review after concerns were raised the change would make it illegal for large groups of cyclists to train or ride on city streets.

“The amendment needs a little wordsmithing,” said Coun. Scott Fielding, chairman of the protection and community services committee, which endorsed the amendment last week.

The committee was told last week Winnipeg police technically could not issue parade permits to cycling groups because the bylaw only recognizes pedestrians and motorized vehicles to participate in parades.

The committee was told the amendment merely added cyclists to the list of those eligible to obtain a police-escorted parade permit.

However, alarm bells were raised within the cycling community, who feared the wording of the amendment would make it illegal for groups of 10 or more cyclists to go on recreational or training rides without a parade permit.

“The intent was never to stop people from enjoying the use of their bicycles,” Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) said.

Fielding credited the intervention of Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) and the cycling community for alerting civic staff to the unintended implication of the proposed amendment.

Gerbasi said senior WPS executives realized the amendment wording could be interpreted in a manner that was never intended, adding it was the police who recommended it be withdrawn and rewritten.

Deputy police chief Art Stannard said last week the amendment had a humorous origin: A couple of years ago a group of naked cyclists wanted a police-escorted parade permit and that’s when police discovered the shortcomings of the bylaw.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2013 B2