Trikes allowed on Sydney boardwalk
‘I’ve been really encouraged from the response from the community thus far’
Cape Breton Regional councillors have voted in favour of an exemption that will allow the riding of tricycles on the Sydney boardwalk this summer. The decision paves the way for a pilot project by 32 Spokes to proceed — a new venture that will offer cruise ship passengers and locals a chance to explore downtown Sydney using the threewheeled contraptions.
Company founder Heather Voyles told council at a meeting this week that she is still awaiting word on funding but it could come any day. She hopes to be able to purchase a dozen of the trikes but the final number will depend on the amount of funding received.
“I’ve been really encouraged from the response from the community thus far,” Voyles said.
“My hope is that bringing the extra energy and vitality to the boardwalk will be beneficial to the community at large.”
Originally, Voyles was also seeking approval for bicycles, but she abandoned that part of the proposal. The exemption approved for this season by council does not apply to bicycles. She also did not pursue an exemption for sidewalks. The pilot will end with the conclusion of the cruise ship season.
Voyles said there’s a market especially for tourists who want to take their time to explore a community on a low-impact, pedestrian-friendly trike.
Trikes are single-speed and move more slowly than bicycles.
Council has also asked staff to develop an issue paper on the use of trikes on the boardwalk. If council had sought an issue paper prior to moving ahead with the pilot, it would have prevented 32 Spokes from operating this summer.
Several members of council said they were concerned about the potential impact on pedestrians using the boardwalk.
Dist. 8 Coun. Kevin Saccary noted the CBRM invested millions of dollars in developing the boardwalk, noting it can attract up to thousands of people, including small children, during special events.
“To me it’s pretty straightforward — it’s a boardwalk, not a multi-use path,” he said.
“I believe a number of people would be offended if they were walking down the boardwalk with their family and they had to jump out of the way of any obstacle coming in the opposite direction.”
Voyles will carry insurance and will work to educate her customers, noted Paul Burt, CBRM manager of building, planning and licensing laws.
“The opportunity to do the pilot would then give us the basic information to allow us to evaluate whether or not it could or couldn’t be done successfully versus trying to give you an issue paper before the pilot actually starts, and then we’re doing it based on hypothetical situations or scenarios,” noted Mike MacKeigan, manager of utilities administration.
Voyles is a member of the Uhma Institute of Technology startup immersion program based at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation in Sydney.
In later phases, the business may also offer remote-controlled sailboats, pedal-powered funboats and kayaks, and a pedestrian and cycle-friendly ferry between Sydney and Westmount along with harbour tours.
The tricycles generally retail for $549.
Heather Voyles, founder of 32 Spokes, takes a ride on one of the trikes that will form a small fleet of low impact, pedestrian-friendly trikes and bikes for daily rental during the summer and early fall. CBRM council has voted in favour of an exemption that will allow trikes to be ridden on the Sydney boardwalk under a pilot project.