What Really Happened on Hillside Trail?

The emails and on-line feedback on the recent record article are fascinating to me. For those who have deemed me to be a reckless, speeding cyclist they can rest assured that I was going very slowly, saw the fence, had complete control over my bike, could come to a complete stop if required for pedestrian or other trail users and approached the bend in the trail with caution. The small make-shift trail to the left of the fence was the option provided to trail users to get around the trail closure. I took the make-shift trail, likely too slowly, my wheels became stuck in mud I could not see under the weeds, and I fell over injuring myself.  I don’t care about my injuries and I don’t blame the Region for my fall.  As an aside I was not furious, but it makes for a good headline.  I do think it is of value to prevent injuries to others that may make the same choice as I did and a simple sign along with a true trail would have achieved that outcome. What prompted the Record article was Tweet I sent out to the region asking them to sign the trail and formalize the alternative route so no one else has the potential to get hurt.  The Record decided that was news worthy.  I didn’t think it newsworthy, but given the conversation on-line and the emails I have received about the whole thing it is clear that the Record reporter knows how to write a great article.

I don’t know if you pay Regional taxes, but I do and I think they are too high.  Annually 1,000’s of people routinely sue municipalities for injuries similar to what I incurred.  The laws of the Province in virtually every case side on the side of the injured person.  Why?  The laws believe that appropriate notice, such as a sign, would have completely prevented the injury.  Further, that had there been a sign, and I chose to disregard it than I am liable for my choice to ignore it and the resulting injuries.  

The City of Waterloo has a policy that when we are undertaking construction and we will be interrupting a trail connection we place a sign to indicate to users that the way is blocked by doing so, we limit our liability in the event of injury.  I believe the Region should have a similar policy to limit their liability.  During the road construction on University Avenue the Region has continuously shown a lack of regard to trail users and cyclists in particular. 

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