Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's share the path!

One of Ottawa’s most popular cycle routes is the multi-use pathway that runs along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway on the west bank of the Rideau Canal. It is used by runners, skateboarders, parents with strollers, those walking dogs and those just out for a stroll. It is NOT a bicycle path.

OBG strollers

OBG dogwalker

However, it is heavily used by cycling commuters and the pathway can get quite busy in the morning and afternoon rush hours.
The afternoon rush can be a rather difficult time to be anyone but a cyclist on the MUP. For some reason, human nature I imagine, people are in far more of a hurry to get home than they are to get to work. This is a problem. People in a hurry. Rather, cyclists in a hurry. A big hurry. I know how fast 20kph is and so many are speeding. It’s particularly dangerous at the wide curve across from Waverly Avenue.

I walk this pathway almost every day after work to meet my partner. It’s a lovely walk in the spring when the lilacs are in bloom and in the fall when the colors are changing. In fact, it’s one of the better places to walk in Ottawa. Who doesn’t like a stroll along a river (or a canal)?
Well, one fellow that passed us recently certainly did not appreciate the beauty of this pathway or respect that it’s a shared pathway. As we were walking home, another couple exercise walking, came up behind us. They passed us on our left just as anyone would while walking, running or cycling. However, they straddled the centre line as they passed us by. Our cyclist in a hurry found this to be an outrage. As he passed all four of us, so close he almost touched the other couple, he had to flash us the one fingered salute as he vanished at a high speed. Yet another cyclist giving us all a bad name.

This sense of entitlement to the pathway, this get out of my way I’m an important person in a hurry attitude just sends such a terrible message about cyclists. Many are coming too close to pedestrians. Here’s a suggestion. How about slowing down a little…maybe take in the scenery and enjoy your bike ride and let others enjoy what they are doing as well. Let’s share the path!

OBG rollerblader


  1. People also talk too fast, drive their trucks and cars too fast, these are just folk trying to get there, no time for the journey, only the destination is important. Where we live there is a similar path, but at the side a bigger wider path for pedestrians, dogs etc....

  2. The canal path can get busy at rush hour and that is a good thing. It is amazing that more crashes don't happen but cyclists are just part of the pandemonium that is the canal 'BIKE PATH'...

    I'll be part of the evening canal migration in an hour!!!

  3. Your photos of the pathway are so relevant. The state of Alabama recently completed the 33 mile Chief Ladiga Trail, which follows an old railroad bed, revealing streams, wetlands, farmland, forest and mountains. My grandchildren and I enjoy weekend biking on parts of it, especially in the Spring and Autumn.

  4. I love this site I will follow him in my head also: