Safety of daugh­ter came first

Mother who caused stir on cy­cling lane at Char­lot­te­town’s Vic­to­ria Park says she’ll be back and will fol­low the rules

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART dave.ste­wart@the­ Twit­­wart

A Fort Au­gus­tus mother who caused a stir over the cy­cling lane at Vic­to­ria Park in Char­lot­te­town says she in­tends to fol­low the rules

Ear­lier this week, Kayla Hainer, a mother of three young chil­dren, was walk­ing one child in a stoller while her mother was walk­ing an­other child in a sep­a­rate stroller as her third child rode her bi­cy­cle in the cy­cling lane.

Strollers are pro­hib­ited on the cy­cling lane.

While they were walk­ing, and rid­ing, a woman came along and ac­costed Hainer for walk­ing strollers in the cy­cling lane. It has since be­come a big topic of con­ver­sa­tion, es­pe­cially on The Guardian’s Face­book page.

“I am flab­ber­gasted be­cause I didn’t re­al­ize there would be so much con­tro­versy,’’ Hainer said Fri­day. “For me, it was a big safety is­sue. I couldn’t have my 10-year-old daugh­ter on (the cy­cling lane) while I walked on the board­walk.’’

Hainer knew if she had used the board­walk and had her daugh­ter cy­cling with her that peo­ple would have been up­set about a bi­cy­cle be­ing on the board­walk where it’s not al­lowed.

“I had to choose what was best and be­ing be­side her and be­ing her alert sys­tem was the best thing for me. I had to make a parental de­ci­sion where I wanted my child safe and that was the bot­tom line.’’

The City of Char­lot­te­town is­sued a news re­lease on Fri­day re­mind­ing peo­ple of ac­cept­able uses on the cy­cling lane. Al­low­able uses in­clude bi­cy­cles, rollerblades, scoot­ers, skate­boards, in­line skates and other self-pro­pelled wheel­ing de­vices. For safety rea­sons, walk­ers and run­ners, in­clud­ing those push­ing a stroller or walk­ing a pet, are not per­mit­ted.

The only sce­nario where the parks and re­cre­ation depart­ment feels it is ap­pro­pri­ate for a walker to be on the cy­cling lane would be in the case of a par­ent or guardian pro­vid­ing “con­cen­trated as­sis­tance to walk along­side a young cy­clist’’.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chair­man of the parks and re­cre­ation com­mit­tee, ad­dressed the con­fu­sion.

“Our main con­cern is safety for all users of the park, and that is why we have posted signs to clearly dis­play what types of ac­tive trans­porta­tion are per­mit­ted,’’ Tweel said.

“We con­tinue to en­cour­age young cy­clists to use the cy­cling lane and get used to cy­cling on a road­way type sur­face. In some cases, this means a par­ent or guardian walk­ing be­side the child.’’

The pub­lic works depart­ment will be paint­ing a cen­tre line on the newly paved sec­tion of the cy­cling lane next week to help con­trol the traf­fic and al­low users the ap­pro­pri­ate space to travel both di­rec­tions.

Hainer said this ex­pe­ri­ence hasn’t soured her on Vic­to­ria Park.

“Oh, of course,’’ she said when asked if she’d be back. “We love Vic­to­ria Park.’’

How­ever, next time if she needs to push the stroller and has the daugh­ter on her bike she’ll take Cy­cling P.E.I.’s ad­vice and use the path above the cy­cling lane. The path is paved be­tween Fan­ning­bank and the band shell while the other half is hard-packed clay.

Or, she’ll sim­ply find a babysit­ter for her youngest two, take her own bi­cy­cle and cy­cle with her daugh­ter.

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