Skip to content

Bicyclists won’t be subject to a curfew

There will be no curfew for bicyclists in Barrhead. That was the decision of Town of Barrhead councillors after debating the idea at their Aug. 15 meeting. Coun.
Coun. Ty Assaf suggested Town of Barrhead should implement a bicycle curfew to help stem the tide of thefts in the community.

There will be no curfew for bicyclists in Barrhead.

That was the decision of Town of Barrhead councillors after debating the idea at their Aug. 15 meeting.

Coun. Ty Assaf brought up the idea as a last minute agenda item as a possible way for council to help the RCMP deal with a number of break-and-enters where the suspects are believed to have used bicycles as there mode of transportation.

Later in the meeting councillors instructed administration to research what other policies and projects municipalities have put in place to prevent crime.

“We all know these criminals are using a certain mode of transportation [later revealed as bicycles] around town, but I would like us to consider a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. to disallow these people to be on the roads to give RCMP another tool to help combat the break-ins and thefts that are taking place in our community,” Assaf said.

Mayor Dave McKenzie said police already have these tools under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act.

“Under the act they are considered a vehicle and are to abide by all rules of the road, which means travel in the direction of other traffic, stop at stop signs all these things, including having a tail and front light, and follow the same rules drivers of motor vehicles drivers have to,” he said. “From my observation of the people in question is that they are not too concerned about that.”

McKenzie added the biggest obstacle police face when trying to carry out any law is enforcement, noting Barrhead like the majority of Canadian municipalities does not have enough police to serve its needs.

“I’m not sure how adding another piece of legislation would help them. I guess there is the possibility of enlisting our peace officer to assist in enforcing those provincial statutes, but that would be a big change in his working hours,” he said.

Assaf said he still believes a curfew would be valuable as it would act as a preventative measure.

“Once the RCMP are dispatched, good luck in catching them. However, if you happen to be patrolling at a certain hour of night and you happen to see someone it would give the police a tool to perhaps stop a crime,” he said, admitting the bylaw might be difficult to draft as it would have to include provisions for people who are working late and use bikes as their transportation. “I’m starting to see people taking the law into their own hands and I’ll be honest, I’m scared to see where all this is heading.”

Coun. Dausen Kluin asked if Barrhead and Area Regional Crime Coalition (BARCC) had a role to play through neighbourhood patrols. BARCC is a partnership between Woodlands County, RCMP, Rural Crime Watch and the two Barrhead municipalities. Its purpose is to work together in an effort to reduce and prevent crime.

“That part of it [neighbourhood watch] falls to Rural Crime Watch,” McKenzie said, adding BARCC is working on giving Rural Crime Watch a cellphone app that will help them pass along information to aid their patrols. “It’s just getting its legs, but come September you are going to see BARCC and Rural Crime Watch become more active and hopefully it will help.”

Chief administrative officer Martin Taylor said he knows a few Alberta municipalities have curfew bylaws, but isn’t sure if in the end, they will stand up.

“I know there are cases where people have challenged these bylaws all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada so it isn’t a straightforward issue,” he said.

A number of communities have enacted youth curfew bylaws in some form including Bruderheim, Taber, Blackfalds, Strathcona County, Devon, and Millet.

Coun. Don Smith agreed with McKenzie saying that it is a manpower issue.

“I don’t want us to waste administration’s time with something that isn’t going to fix it,” he said.

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
Read more

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks