Silly cycling restrictions: How slow can you go?

How slow can you go?

If you look closely at the advisory signs when you enter Mount Pleasant Cemetery, you may notice something peculiar: a reasonable speed limit of 30 km/h for cars and just 10 km/h for bicycles. Not only that, but while drivers are helpfully advised to lock their unattended cars, cyclists are warned—twice!—that their speed limit is “strictly enforced,” and that it is to “ensure the safety and respect of those visiting the cemetery.” Apparently, a bike at 15 km/h is more disturbing and dangerous than a car travelling twice that speed.

What makes this a silly restriction is not so much the different speed limits or the extra warnings for cyclists, but the ludicrously slow speed cyclists are supposed to maintain. I did try riding at 10km/h through the cemetery one day; it’s a very difficult speed to maintain. I was passed by several non-Roger-Bannister-like joggers who were bouncing along at, by rough estimate, about 12 km/h. My more typical leisurely pace through these paths is around 20 km/h.

As for being strictly enforced, none of the cemetery employees I encounter (including security) on my daily commutes ever do more than wave and smile as I fly recklessly past them at twice the limit. Either no one knows how slow 10 km/h really is or they think it’s as silly as I do.

Still, cyclists have it better than inline skaters; they’re not allowed in the cemetery at all.

4 thoughts on “Silly cycling restrictions: How slow can you go?

  1. While the rule may seem silly now, it was a response to groups of cyclists who were using the cemetery for training. They’d choose a loop and motor around the cemetery at quite a good clip. This activity WAS a safety hazard and the 10 km/h rule was the result. I don’t think they ever enforce the rule for casual cyclists but the message was that the cemetery was no place for training activities.

  2. I think that’s a pretty good reason to have a restriction on using the cemetery as a training circuit, but I think it’s a pretty bad reason to have an unenforced (and unenforceable) 10 km/h speed limit that snares many more people than the inconsiderate boobs it’s aimed at.

    The last thing we need is more overly-broad rules that are specifically intended to be enforced for only a tiny minority of the people breaking them. It’s the kind of thing that gets people into the habit of ignoring rules, which is precisely what causes a lot of problems in the first place.

  3. Most of the large, garden-style cemeteries I’ve ever hung out in, including Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, upon which all large garden-style cemeteries in North America are based (wow that is a run-on sentence), do not allow bicycles at all out of respect for the dead. Other things that are not allowed at Mt. Auburn: skating (any kind), jogging, picnicking, and pets. Things that are allowed: walking, painting, photography, meditating, birdwatching.

    I’m frankly surprised that Mt. Pleasant allows bikes. I have yet to visit. Is it nice?

  4. I’ve always thought that Mount Pleasant is the most interesting of Toronto’s garden cemeteries. I walk or bike through pretty much every day now that I work nearby and something always catches my eye. I don’t think there’s anything disrespectful about cycling, picnicking, or jogging, and I don’t understand why any site—cemetery or otherwise—would ban bikes but not cars.

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