Signs of the times?

By David F. Rooney

Love ’em or hate ’em Revelstoke now has a new crop of don’t-do-this signs at downtown street corners.

The stencilled signs caution people against riding bicycles or skateboards on the sidewalk and against having unleashed dogs.

“These make us look like Nelson and we are so not Nelson,” said Castle Joe proprietor Gwen Lips. “I think they are very unwelcoming.”

One passer-by who watched a City worker apply the stencilled signs shook his head and wondered what would be next.

“What’s next?” he asked. “Signs against having sex? Signs against smoking?”

One woman said she thought the signs work against the efforts of those who think Revelstoke should be encouraging people to use bicycles and/or walk downtown with or without dogs. In fact, there are so many dogs in Revelstoke you have to wonder about the message these signs send to dog owners. Sure, the signs say dogs should be leashed, but if you bring your dog downtown what do you do with them when you are not allowed to leave your dog (leashed or unleashed) unattended.

That may well be so, but other people are happy to see the signs… even if they are unsure about their enforceability. An enforceability should be a major concern. What are we doing creating bylaws, rules and regulations when we either can’t or won’t enforce them in anything resembling a meaningful way?

The cycling/sktaeboarding-on-sidewalks issue is a hot one for a large number of people who are angry about adult cyclists who ride on the wrong side of the road, blow through stop signs, cycle across pedestrian cross walks and generally act as though the rules of the road do not apply to them.

This public dismay and concern is all directed at teenagers and adults. Kids under the age of 13 are permitted to ride on the sidewalk.

Here are a few shots of the signs and some cyclists’ reaction to them:

Here’s a new sign of the times: A sidewalk stencil cautioning people against riding bicycles or skateboards on sidewalks or against have unleashed dogs. David F. Rooney photo
A City worker spray-paints the stencil — this one is by the Royal Bank. Stencils have been applied at downtown street corners. Ironically, while this worker was complaining about some of the teens and adults who routinely cycle down city sidewalks a group of teens on bikes were sitting around in front of the old RMR presentation centre… David F. Rooney photo
Two of the group, who were all aware of the signs being stencilled on downtown corners, were captured on camera brazenly cycling past the freshly painted signs by the Royal Bank. Not 20 minutes later an adult woman cycled down the sidewalk and past the signs in front of Wearabouts at Mackenzie and Second Street. David F. Rooney photo