Moncton — As roads and sidewalk conditions continued to deteriorate in the Hub City this week, Moncton City Council took decisive action at an emergency session by passing a bylaw requiring pedestrians to wear helmets while walking within city limits.
“Really,” said Mayor Dawn Arnold, “with all the additions to the Downtown Centre, we were in a bit of budget crunch, and we thought we could cut back on salting and sanding. It was September at the time, and who would have anticipated these kinds of conditions then?
“So we sat down with Public Works and brainstormed about possible solutions, but they all sounded like they’d cost money we didn’t have. Then someone suggested, ‘Why don’t we just not do it at all?’ Needless to say we all loved the idea!”
“But,” added Councillor at large Pierre Boudreau, “our crack team of legal experts pointed out that we might be liable if someone were to slip and fall. Well, I say ‘crack team’…it was really just Claire in Human Resources, but she’s seen every episode of Suits AND Law & Order: SVU.
“Regardless, when we took a look at what other public infrastructure we had that resembled our roads and sidewalks, we realized it was our outdoor skating rinks. They all require helmets to use, taking the burden of safety off of us. The problem just solved itself from there.”
The bylaw resembles the one passed in Fredericton in 2015, but in Moncton residents who are found walking within city limits without appropriate headgear are now subject to fines of no less than $500, with the option of buying Wildcat season tickets instead.
Ward 2 Councillor Blair Lawrence also weighed in on the bylaw.
“We are really excited about this one! Not only does the city save money, it gives a boost to businesses like Canadian Tire and Sport Chek. Now, some people were grumbling about forcing people to buy helmets, so I suggested a way to offset that: as a special promotion, if you buy a helmet between now and March, for an extra $1.99 you can get a large helmet sticker with a picture of the Downtown Centre on it. That way you feel good about yourself, and it will help the city pay for the new marble archway we’re planning for the entrance to the centre. Everybody wins!”
When approached about the new bylaw, officials at Public Works declined to comment. Though, off the record, one manager informed us that this was seen as a trial balloon and that the city is already in talks with Toys for Big Boys about making snowmobiles mandatory as well.
“That way,” the official said, “they can park the snowplows as well. Imagine the savings!”