Talk about an overreaction
Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 06:00 am
An incident occurred at the boardwalk in St. Albert’s Lois Hole Provincial Park recently that made my husband and I call into question the integrity of some of our fellow community members, and also implicated some bigger questions regarding one’s place as a concerned community citizen.
We are avid cyclists and enjoy St. Albert’s trail system. We have always found that most people who use the trails are courteous. However, one cause for concern is the way that cyclists have been disrespecting signage for the boardwalk that spans across the marsh by Big Lake. On both ends of the boardwalk is clear “cyclist dismount” signage. It is obvious, due to the limited width of the boardwalk, that this signage is for safety of both cyclists and walking pedestrians. However, we have noticed in our frequency of enjoying the boardwalk that we happen to be the only ones respecting these signs.
After watching a couple of kids racing through the boardwalk past an elderly person on their bikes the other day and having the opportunity to approach them on their way back through, I politely mentioned the signage as they passed by. Casual, friendly, polite. The older of the two said, “So what?” That was all. But it was not long after that this kid’s mother hunted us down and ferociously ripped into us about having “told her son off,” continually yelling that we were hypocrites for having our bikes with us (though the signage is not a “no bikes” sign.)
I can’t remember the last time I had met that kind of hostile behaviour from anyone. We chalked this up to the likelihood that the situation was misrepresented to her in the first place by her disgruntled teenager who possibly took offence of the friendly request, but I was also surprised that she had no idea what a “cyclist dismount” sign even looked like. I have since confirmed that this is indeed what the sign means, and have requested that lettered signs accompany what is currently in place for the sake of sign-illiterate folks out there.
Regardless of this particular situation and the misfortune of having stumbled across an unsavoury character in my community, it would be nice to regain our confidence that St. Albert is a safe, friendly place where people can approach each other without being bullied and attacked. I was acting from the place of a concerned citizen. We should all have confidence that disagreements, misinterpretations or oversights can be resolved peacefully. I would challenge everyone to practice respect and find better ways of treating “thy neighbour,” including respecting laws in place to facilitate health and safety. Let’s practice what we preach, be better role models for kids, and not tolerate bullying in our community. We can do better.
Tracy McLeod, St. Albert