The point of the following passage is not to reflect on the driver of the truck who is on trial now in Ottawa in relation to the accident below but rather on how unsafe the Laurier Avenue bike lanes are.
After this incident, some biking zealots called on cyclists to converge on the Laurier lanes as if for some territorial marking of some sort. That action was reckless.
“She was moving and yelling (under the truck) and I heard a sound like the release of air brakes,” testified Brett Hogan, who drives trucks as an army reservist, and witnessed the crash while walking home on Lyon Street that morning.
He was first alerted to what he said sounded like metal scraping on metal, then people screaming and yelling. He turned to see bystanders “flailing their arms” at the driver of the red Tomlinson dump truck stopped mid-intersection. Then he noticed the cyclist still under the truck.
“The (cyclist) screaming seemed to be right in front of the passenger side main axel … As I saw the truck begin rolling forward I yelled ‘stop’ and put my hand up,” he said. “The tires went over the person.”
Hogan said he believed only a few seconds passed between the time the truck first came to a stop — he noted the commotion on the street quieted momentarily — to the time it moved forward “ever so slightly and ever so slowly.”
As Hogan ran to help the woman, he noticed her bike “mangled and pinned” under the drive shaft in the centre of the truck.
The woman’s body was twisted in the truck’s rear axel.
“She was very difficult to reach,” said Hogan, who reached in to look for a pulse on her neck and drew his hand back covered in blood.
“I felt helpless,” he said, describing the pool of blood that began forming at his feet as paramedics arrived.
In fact, the bike lanes are not safe. Anyone who has rode on them or tried to make a right turn on them during rush hour will attest to that.
The Laurier bike lanes are a travesty and should have been located on Slater or Albert beside a surface light rail line which would be closed to traffic except bikes, cyclists and pedestrians. But then the LRT program is another travesty of over-spending, sinkholes and planning incompetence.
The downtown bike lanes should be on side streets where little vehicular traffic operates. Rational people realize this but that would mean city politicians and bureaucrats having to admit they are wrong. People with safe self-esteem and good conscience can admit when they are wrong. Others cannot.
The lack of municipal action on the Laurier Avenue bike lanes is incorrect and depressing.
A proper response from the city would leave cyclists safer and motorists would not be in fear of injuring or killing someone riding a bike.
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