British Columbia

Antonina Skoczylas, cyclist killed on Stanley Park Causeway, lawsuit launched

The family of the cyclist who died after being hit by a bus on the Stanley Park Causeway has filed a lawsuit against the province, the bus company and driver, and two pedestrians.

Improvements to Causeway totalling $7m were announced just last week.

Antonina Skoczlas died in May 2013 after she was hit by a bus when she fell while cycling along the Stanley Park Causeway.

The family of Antonina Skoczylas, the 61-year-old cyclist who died after being hit by a bus on the Stanley Park Causeway, is suing the Ministry of Transportation, the bus company and the driver involved, as well as two pedestrians who were walking along the shared pathway at the time.

Skoczylas died instantly after she fell off the curb and was hit by a West Vancouver Blue Transit bus at 7 p.m. PT on May 25, 2013. She had apparently collided with a pedestrian before falling into the road and being hit by the bus.

The lawsuit filed by the woman's husband, Slawomir Stanislaw Skoczylas and her son, Slawomir Zygmunt Skoczylas, alleges that the province, as responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the bridge, was negligent in failing to ensure the safety of pedestrians and safety of cyclists.

Causeway too narrow, too steep

The lawsuit claims the sidewalks that cyclists are forced to share with pedestrians are too narrow and too steep a grade, are too close to vehicles, too high, lack any dividing lines to separate cyclists and pedestrians, lack any barriers to prevent users falling into the road and lack adequate signage warning of the dangers.

The allegations against West Vancouver Blue Bus Transit System include lack of maintenance of the vehicle, lack of training of the driver, and failing to implement policies in the event of a cyclist falling into the road on the Stanley Park Causeway.

The driver of the bus, is alleged to have failed to keep a proper "or alternatively, any" lookout, and of having failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid the accident, including sounding the horn or slowing down.

The two pedestrians named in the claim are alleged to have failed to keep a proper lookout, or taken reasonable precautions to avoid the accident. They are also alleged to have bumped, jostled or "otherwise acting or failing to act in such a way to force the deceased off the sidewalk into traffic".

Safety improvements coming

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone, said Thursday that he couldn't comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but that the $7 million improvement plan for the causeway announced last week will prevent similar deaths in the future.

Under the new plan, the eastern sidewalk will have two lanes for northbound bikes and one lane for pedestrians heading in both directions. (Vancouver Park Board)

Asked if the new plan was an admission of guilt in the matter, Stone said it was being implemented because safety needs to be improved.

A man who was on the bus that evening described the chaotic scene as "utter horror."

"Just utter horror, utter horror, absolute horror," Michael Kirkup told CBC News at the time.

"The bus apparently screeches and there's rubber, we smell rubber, smoke, and we're travelling several hundred metres, and there's a big commotion and everybody is screaming," he said.