An Ottawa cycling advocate said he is “beginning to feel frustrated” after a 27-year-old male cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries in a collision with a vehicle in Orléans on Wednesday.
This is the second incident in the past month of a cyclist being seriously injured or killed from a collision in the area.
Erinn Cunningham, a board member of the cyclist advocacy group Bike Ottawa, said he doesn’t see the situation improving anytime soon.
“I’m beginning to feel frustrated that we clearly have a problem in this city with cycling safety and for vulnerable road users in general,” he said. “We’re not moving fast enough to try and start improving.”
Cunningham said the only way to keep vulnerable road users safe is a full infrastructure overhaul — adapting a Vision Zero mandate.
- Renaud Road was closed between Joshua and Anderson due to a collision in Ottawa on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. A cyclist was hit.
“We have to make a commitment as a city to start building our infrastructure in such a way to reflect vision zero principals,” he said. “When collisions like this happen, make a commitment, make immediate steps to improve on what we might identify as having caused the collision in the first place.”
According to Ottawa police, the incident occurred at about 11:10 a.m. on Renaud Road in Orléans, between Joshua Street and Anderson Road.
Renaud Road near Joshua Street is a 50 km/h zone residential area but quickly becomes a rural setting with no bike lanes and changes to an 80 km/h zone. Both the cyclist and the vehicle were travelling west toward Anderson Road at the time of the collision.
Residents in the area said they aren’t surprised by the incident.
“There’s no bike path and it’s so narrow,” said Catherine Bedard, a local resident. “It’s a really dangerous road.”
Resident David Kasongo said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the collision but was surprised to hear it happened during the day.
“It’s not very well lit,” he said. “It’s a dangerous area for bikes at night time. Even reflective gear isn’t enough.”
For Bernie Forget, the most dangerous aspect to the road is the how quickly vehicles accelerate.
“You go from 50 (km/h) to 80 (km/h),” he said.
Forget said he would advise cyclists to use the Prescott Russell Recreational Trail, a 72-kilometre rail bed converted to a bike trail. But the trail is far from a lot of residential and developed areas of Orléans, and Forget said many cyclists still use Renaud Road for commuting.
Coun. Laura Dudas who represents the area, said in an email she was saddened by the incident and hopes to improve the safety of the road.
“This incident is deeply upsetting, and my heart goes out to the cyclist and their family,” she said. “Ensuring our roadways are safe for all road users is essential and I will be asking city staff to come up with recommendations to improve safety on this stretch of road based on the findings of the police investigation.”
Ottawa Paramedic Service said that the cyclist, who suffered life-threatening injuries, was not wearing a helmet.
Police are investigating. This is the second incident of a cyclist being struck in Orléans in the past month. The first collision occurred at the westbound 174 on ramp off of Jeanne d’Arc Blvd between a 13-year-old cyclist and a 79-year-old driver and resulted in the death of the cyclist.
With files from Bruce Deachman
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