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 that endorsed the amendment last week.
The committee was told last week that Winnipeg police technically could not issue parade permits to cycling groups because the bylaw only recognized 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 councillors 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wording could be interpreted in a manner that was never intended, adding it was the police that recommended it be withdrawn and rewritten.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.
The amendment was to have gone to the executive policy committee Wednesday morning for approval but Fielding said now the amendment will be forwarded back to civic staff.
Fielding said the entire traffic bylaw is being reviewed and the changes affecting cyclists and parades will be rewritten to eliminate the cycling community’s concern.