Portage la Prairie, MB –
If speed kills, then people on the Crescent Lake path will live forever.
City Hall passed new laws to restrict the speed of all path users to no more than 15km/h and will use photo radar to enforce the new limit.
Citing numerous complaints and near misses, civic leaders took the needed measures to make Portage safe again. All walkers, joggers, cyclists, skate boarders, rollerbladers and even paddlers will have to keep speeds at no more than half of the school zone speed limit.
“We successfully slowed the town down with the constant school zone speed limits,” spokesperson Leanne VanPelt said. “Many Portagers like going 30km/h so much they drive around the whole Crescent that slow. We now need the same kind of pace on the path.”
With a mixed-use, paved and divided trail used by a varied demographic including seniors and students rules were badly needed.
Complaints have come in regarding walkers and geese being frightened by cyclists and runners going way too fast along the path. Cyclists have filed protests of people on foot and skate boarders not staying to the right. The path scene was nearing anarchy.
“Portage is a peaceful place,” VanPelt said. “We might not be fast but we can be slow.”
Hipster paddlers in kayaks and nature loving canoeists must also keep under the 15km/h limit so they don’t startle geese and people along the path.
To bolster safety along Crescent Lake the city will also require all users to wear helmets while on foot or wheels.
“Helmets will be best,” VanPelt explained. “In case there is a collision pedestrians and riders will have their brains protected. Paddlers will also have to wear helmets as there are many rocks near shore.”
With awareness of brain injuries on the rise and corresponding law suits the city wants itself and citizens covered.
Local police will be busy this week installing photo radar devices along the path that will snap pics of violators. Authorities will then use face recognition software paired to social media accounts of Portagers to identify and fine violators.
“Fines will start at $300 for a speed infraction,” VanPelt said. “It will double if the offender is caught not wearing a helmet.”
On top of police surveillance a local citizen group will set up lawn chairs along the path at various times to point finger and shake their heads at violators.
“Anyone going to fast or not wearing a helmet will feel guilt and shame when we see them,” Vern Skerwood said. “We want to do everything we can to help slow Portage down.”
Path users will have until tomorrow to comply.