A story from Kelowna, in the Central Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada –
RCMP gearing up for bicycle safety blitz
A warning to Kelowna bicyclists. Kelowna RCMP is getting ready to do a blitz in the downtown for unsafe bicycling practices. Constable Kris Clark says the common sites are people traveling on the wrong side of the road, on a sidewalk, or not wearing a helmet.
“That helmet is there for a reason. Without your brain you don’t function. That’s obviously the most important part of your body. The fine is only $29, it doesn’t really reflect the importance of that but it’s very important that you wear a helmet.”
Wearing a helmet is the law in British Columbia.
A reminder that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists under the Motor Vehicle Act which means they must obey stop signs, traffic lights, and traffic directions.
Already two cyclists in the Central Okanagan have died this year, neither of which were wearing a helmet.
Clark adds they’re not going to be going after kids. “It’s not like we’re going to be handing out fines to children. That’s really not the point, we want to educate. But if you’re a parent or guardian and allowing your child to ride without a helmet, then the onus is on you.”
One of these two cyclists to have died was Gordon Wilde, who was killed on March 17th. He was run over by the wheels of the trailer of a ‘semi truck’ – in other words, the trailer of an articulated lorry; something like this.
He suffered serious and fatal injuries to his torso, neck and head.
Police believe Wilde who was riding his bike, was hit by the rear drive wheels of the semi as it was making a right hand turn onto Baron Road, at Leckie, March 17 at about 9 p.m.
“Witnesses say that the cyclist did not have any lights on his bicycle and there was no indication that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash,” said Const. Kris Clark.
A deformable polystyrene shell apparently being able to protect you while you are crushed under the wheels of an HGV.
The other cyclist to die in the Central Okanagan this year while not wearing a helmet was Arthur Allan Cottie. He was struck by a White Mack commercial truck on 16th February, a vehicle that probably looked something like this
Again, Constable Clark is on hand.
Kelowna RCMP say the death of a 62-year-old cyclist, while tragic, should serve as a warning to other cyclists. Cst. Kris Clark says the unidentified man was not wearing a helmet when he was hit by a vehicle about 6:30 a.m. last Thursday morning.
He also was attempting to cross Harvey Avenue at Pandosy Street against a red light. Clark says the man suffered serious head injuries when he was hit by a delivery truck and never recovered. “This was a tragedy that could have been avoided,” says Clark.
It’s hard to draw definitive conclusions about what happened in both cases from the reports, but it seems both men may have been partly at fault, the former for cycling on the wrong side of the road, the latter for trying to cycle across a busy road against a red light.
What can be said definitively, however, is that a cycle helmet would not have made the slightest bit of difference to the outcome in either case. Quite obviously, a bicycle helmet will not protect you when you are struck by a lorry travelling at high speed, or when you are run over by one. Polystyrene does not have the requisite properties, whatever Constable Clark appears to think.
Of course, if it does, maybe it’s about time the RCMP themselves starting wearing helmets, perhaps when out riding on horseback, for instance?
Thanks to Copenhagenize