Woman hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after bicycle struck by vehicle
It was a tragic morning for cyclists in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
A woman has life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle in Herring Cove, N.S.
Halifax Regional Police responded to the collision in the 1400 block of John Brackett Drive at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday.
Police say the 54-year-old female cyclist was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The 24-year-old male driver of the vehicle was not injured.
A section of John Brackett Drive was closed to traffic for several hours Wednesday morning. It has since reopened.
Police say the investigation is in its early stages. They aren’t certain at this time whether charges will be laid.
"The cause of the collisions is still under investigation, however, the cyclist was taken to the hospital by paramedics, where she's being treated for some serious injuries," said Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Const. Amy Edwards.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Halifax Regional Police.
Less than two hours later, a cyclist and a pick-up truck collided at the intersection of Waverley Road and Rocky Lake Drive in Waverley.
The 63-year-old male cyclist was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
In this case, the driver of the truck was charged for failing to obey the one-meter rule.
"Legally, in the motor vehicle act, people driving a car have to give somebody on a bike a metre of clearance," said Kelsey Lane of the Ecology Action Centre.
"And clearly, in cases where there are collisions, that clearly didn't happen."
Lane is an avid cyclist and also the sustainable transportation co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre.
She says better infrastructure is needed to make roads safer.
"A lot of our streets are wide enough to accommodate safe cycling infrastructure, it's just a matter of political will and funding to be able to get that done," Lane said.
Lane says every time a road is repaved there's an opportunity to make it wider and safer for cyclists.
"We can't wait for another fatal collision to happen before we start building safe infrastructure for people who are walking and for people who are biking in this province," Lane said.
In light of the two recent collisions, Halifax police are asking everyone to share the road.
"I understand everybody has some place that they need to be, but, as long as we're all taking those precautions, we can all get there safely," Edwards said.
Lane says there's one important thing to remember when sharing the road.
"People on bikes and people walking are vulnerable road users," she said. "You're not surrounded by a ton of steel, so, we would say it's really important that they're protected as much as possible, especially in a time where active transportation is really the lynchpin to solving our climate crisis."
Meghan Doucette of the Halifax Cycling Coalition has a list of things she wants improved to make cycling as safe as possible.
"It's really a quality-of-life issue and we want to build the best city that we can," said Doucette
Doucette would also like to see protected bike lanes fully separated from cars with a concrete curb.
Doucette says in a perfect world, the new bike lane on South Park Street would be part of a bigger footprint of bike lanes around the city.
"You can't just have a bike lane here and one here but not over there and they're very disjointed," Doucette said. "It needs to be a connected network so people can actually get where they need to go."
The Halifax Regional Municipality agrees and improvements are fast approaching.
"We have a mandate to build a network of bikeways and pathways that are designed to attract riders of all ages and abilities," says Mark Nener, HRM's co-ordinator of active transportation.
Nener says if the budget funding gets approved a bigger connected network of traditional and protected bike lanes could be in place within two to three years.
And then there's the issue of vehicles and pedestrians.
Martyn Williams says crosswalks in the HRM are incredibly dangerous.
"I was just about to use the crosswalk and truck came through at approximately 100 km per hour," Williams said. "Obviously if it doesn't stop in time, I'm certainly dead."
Williams says pedestrians should always have the cross walk to themselves.
"That car turning left? That car can't do that while you've got the walk lights," he said.
Williams also wants the city to reduce vehicle lane width and the number of lanes.
He says that would require drivers to slow down creating a safer environment for themselves and for pedestrians and cyclists.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Natasha Pace and Paul Hollingsworth.