Kimberley Council adopts Recreation Trails bylaw

Bylaw governs uses, special occasion permits, speed limits

Kimberley City Council adopted the Multi-Use Recreation Trails Bylaw on Monday evening, but not without a lot of discussion about what to do around trail speed limits.

The bylaw imposes a speed limit of 20 kph on trail users, and since it was given first three readings, Council has had some emails from local users around the limit.

The issue is not the speed limit per se, but whether to post speed limit signs on the trails.

One of the reasons for the speed limit is to satisfy legal and insurance requirements.

“By putting a speed limit on the trails, you are protecting the City and the RDEK,” said Coun. Albert Hoglund. “If someone wants to sue after being hit by a bike, the sign was there.”

However, Coun. Kent Goodwin said he had an issue with posting the speed limit.

“It is very difficult to cycle to Cranbrook going under 20 kph,” he said. “I think we can educate people about the speed limit and  that it is there for liability issues. But I worry about visitors being put off when they see the speed limit. I would rather put up signs saying “Caution, don’t use excessive speed”, not 20 kph limit.”

Coun. Darryl Oakley agreed, saying he’d rather appeal to people’s common sense. Coun. Don McCormick agreed as well.

“Education and good signage are far more effective than a speed limit,” he said.

Hoglund was somewhat concerned that Kimberley wasn’t staying consistent with Cranbrook, which also passed a trails bylaw which covered that city’s portion of the Rails to Trails.

Mayor Ron McRae said Cranbrook had passed a bylaw including speed limits.

Council decided to pass the bylaw, but asked staff to work with the local trails committees to come up with signage that wasn’t a speed limit.