British Columbia

Official urges caution after 2 cyclists hit by cars during Bike to Work Week in Kelowna

Kelowna's active transportation co-ordinator says cyclists and drivers need to be better.

2 incidents this week involve vehicles turning at intersections, one of them, an alleged hit-and-run

Bike-share bikes seen docked in Kelowna. Bike to Work Week in the city has seen two cyclist-involved collisions this year. (Dropbike)

Bike to Work and School Week in Kelowna has been marred by two cyclists being struck by cars.

According to police, the first incident happened in Kelowna on Monday when a 48-year-old woman was hit by a pickup truck and "narrowly escaped" serious injuries.

Kelowna RCMP say the driver, a 66-year-old man from Northern B.C., was turning left when the crash occurred. He remained on the scene and is co-operating with police.

"Thankfully, this cyclist was wearing a proper fitting helmet at the time of this collision," Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey said in a statement.

The second collision, police say, was a hit and run where a girl was struck and injured.

It was around 8:20 a.m. PT on Tuesday in Kelowna when the girl got off her bike and walked it into the intersection of Gordon Drive and Springfield Road, police say.

They say the vehicle, possibly a white four-door sedan with a female driver, made a right turn and struck the girl, injuring her and destroying her bike.

"We are told that the driver of the vehicle involved, pulled around the injured child, stopped momentarily without exiting their vehicle and drove away seconds later," O'Donaghey said.

"Bystanders, who were understandably focused on rushing to the aid of the youth, were unfortunately unable to obtain a licence plate for the now suspect vehicle."

Police say they are asking any witnesses to the Tuesday incident to come forward with any information they may have.

'Really, really disappointing'

Kelowna's active transportation co-ordinator, Matthew Worona, says these incidents are "really, really disappointing."

"We all have to kinda look out for each other," Worona told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

"But we've still seen hundreds of people out at our stations and a huge bump in the number or cyclists all over the [Central Okanagan] region, so we're really happy about that."

Worona says the city has been providing safety tips to the public, and he reiterated the need for car drivers to make safe turns — especially after the two collisions.

Make shoulder checks, he advised, as a cyclist may have "snuck up on you." And, generally, be aware.

Cyclists need to be cautious as well, he added. They need to make sure they're not stopping in blind spots and are visible at all times.

Worona says the City of Kelowna is working on adding more bike lanes, including physically separated ones.

He says a priority for the city is to connect bike infrastructure to create a complete network of lanes.

The goal, he says, is to get 25 per cent of all trips under five kilometres within the city to be made by bike in a 20-year time frame. "We're not there yet," Worowa said.

Bike to Work and School Week ends June 3.

Listen to the full interview with Matthew Worona:

With files from CBC Radio One's Daybreak South

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