It’s a dangerous practice downtown and bike patrol officers like John Cook are back on duty trying to curb that activity.
“It is a danger for people coming in and out of businesses. We also look for highway traffic act violations,” said Cook.
“This is a vehicle as per the highway traffic act and people have to treat it like a vehicle.”
Since the beginning of May, Cook has started to patrol the downtown core and the Kate Pace Way as part of the North Bay Police Service’s Bike Patrol.
Cook doesn’t consider himself a “ticket machine” and tries to educate people, like cyclists, using the downtown sidewalks.
“If I do stop the person two or three times afterwards then obviously me speaking with them and trying to educate isn’t getting across and then I may write up a provincial offence notice.”
He believes his presence is felt and people are learning.
“When I started on May 2nd I stopped, I’m guessing 50 or 60 people for violating those offences, and by the end of that first week I was stopping perhaps five to 10 people so being out there and being visible has made a difference,” he said.
And educating North Bay cyclists and pedestrians is important considering the rash of pedestrian related accidents that have occurred recently in the city.
“We have had quite a few pedestrian-vehicle collisions recently so by us coming out here and talking to people and try to let pedestrians know that in some cases you may have the right of way, but you are still going to end up on the losing end of it by getting hit by a car,” said Cook.
However, Cook says the Bike Patrol does more than just monitor traffic.
“You can sneak up on people who are doing things they don’t want you to know,” admitted Cook, who is part of the two-person North Bay Bike Patrol team that will put on as much as 80 kilometres a day.
“You get some people in some areas of the trails drinking or consuming drugs and we are able to sneak up on them on the bicycle. We can go down some of the back alleyways that the cruiser might not be able to go down and we can get to some areas fairly quickly. In fact we can get to some areas faster than the cruisers can.”