Calgary

Cyclist hit on Lower Springbank Road shows clashes are continuing with drivers

Cyclists training near Calgary's city limits say there's been another confrontation with a vehicle. The group says a black Chevy truck cut them off earlier this week, breaking one rider's arm.

Respect needs to rule the road, say cyclists after they say a truck cut them off near the city limits

A cyclist turns onto 85th Street off of Lower Springbank Road. The area is popular with riders both alone and in big teams. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Cyclists training near Calgary's city limits say there's been another confrontation with a vehicle.

The group says a black Chevy truck cut them off earlier this week, breaking one rider's arm. The riders were on Lower Springbank Road in the city's southwest on Tuesday around 4:15 p.m. MT when it happened. 

Coach Lisa Mensink says the cyclists were travelling in a single line on the shoulder when the driver sped up and took a hard right in front of them onto 85th Street southwest.

"Personally I have never seen something that I felt was so intentional. And if it was a second earlier, or if he misjudged it, it could have been even more grave than it was," she said. 

The group managed to catch part of the driver's licence plate, and Calgary police are investigating.

Mensink says it's not the first time cyclists and drivers have clashed in the area.

She would like to see more respect between the groups and roads upgraded with wider shoulders.

"Our biggest concern is just keeping everyone safe — drivers and cyclists out there — and co-existing peacefully," said Mensink. "I biked around the world, so it can be done. I've seen it in other countries, but there just needs to be a little more education and people taking a second to think about their actions before doing."

A closer look at the intersection of Lower Springbank Road and 85th Street in Calgary's southwest. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Ongoing issue

But drivers say they have run into problems with cyclists who are either rude or don't follow the rules. 

"It's all too common to see cyclists not riding single file in that area," said Rosetta Witcher Lubbers on the CBC Calgary Facebook page. "If they want respect they have to follow the rules and ride in a way that respects motorists also. One morning we counted four different groups of cyclists riding double along that narrow road."

Randy Szasz, the president of the Calgary Crankmasters Cycling Club, says respectfully sharing the road is an issue that has come up many times in the past.

His group rides in the area weekly.

"They're less often than we used to see them happening," said Sasz. "Fortunately for that, because any conflict is just dangerous." 

He thinks drivers are becoming more aware of cyclists, but he says a few people don't seem to want to share the road.

"The drivers have to understand that we are considered a vehicle under the highway traffic act," said Szasz, adding that means they should be treated like a slow farm vehicle — so only pass when it's safe to do so.

He says he also reminds the cyclists in his group to follow the rules of the road, which means riding single file. 

Szasz says some shoulders have been widened in the area, but more could be upgraded. However, he understands the costs can be a burden on the province.

Police response

He also says police need to take the issue more seriously.

Szasz pointed to a crash near Okotoks that killed Deric Kryvenchuk in May. The 42-year-old died after he was struck from behind by an eastbound vehicle on Highway 7. A woman was charged in the incident by RCMP in July.

"Why did it take three months to lay charges against her?" he asked.

In Tuesday's case, police were not able to respond to the scene on Lower Springbank Road because of the pursuit of a robbery suspect in the area.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., a man entered the ATB located in the 900 block of 85 Street S.W. and demanded money from the teller before fleeing from the scene at high speed in a red hatchback.

"After causing two minor collisions, the suspect's vehicle became involved in a collision at the intersection of 17 Avenue and Sarcee Trail S.W.," said Calgary police in a release. "The suspect, as well as a female passenger who had been in the vehicle, fled on foot. Officers arrived on scene and took both individuals into custody."  

Kwanling Chin, who was riding with Mensink's group Tuesday, said that left them wondering whether anything would be done.

"We were just so angry — how could someone do that and get away with it," she said.

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