5 cyclists injured when struck by pickup truck on Sherwood Park Freeway
RCMP say one cyclist suffered injury to spine, others have road rash, broken bones
Five cyclists were injured, two seriously, when they were hit by a pickup truck Saturday morning on the Sherwood Park Freeway, RCMP said.
The collision happened around 9:50 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of the freeway just before Anthony Henday Drive, police said.
A total of 15 cyclists were riding on the busy road and five were taken to Edmonton hospitals.
Cpl. James Stanviloff said women and men suffered varying degrees of non life-threatening injuries, including road rash and broken bones. One of the cyclists is believed to have suffered an injury to the spine, he said.
The uninjured driver of the truck remained at the scene and was questioned by police. Stanviloff said no charges have been laid so far, but driver inattention is a factor being considered in the investigation.
"This wasn't an intentional act and that was clear," Stanviloff said. "Obviously it's a pretty traumatic incident, so she was distraught but still cooperating with the investigation."
Alcohol and drugs aren't believed to be factors in the collision.
Cyclists in centre lane
The cyclists were riding in pairs in the centre lane when the truck struck the group from behind, knocking several of them to the ground, Stanviloff said.
"The Traffic Safety Act does state that you have to ride single file on a highway," he said.
"Part of the investigation will determine why they were in the centre lane. I know that where the collision happened, it's a little bit tricky because there's three lanes," he said.
One of the lanes is an off-ramp that turns into an on-ramp onto Highway 216, he said.
Stanviloff noted the cyclists needed to be in the centre lane to get to their destination.
'Holy crap, they're down'
Miles Clarke said he was driving into Edmonton Saturday morning when he saw the cyclists stopped on the eastbound lanes of the freeway.
He said he believes he came upon the crash site minutes after the cyclists were hit.
"The tires on some of the bikes were still going. I just kind of sat there stunned," he said.
"I thought, 'Holy crap, they're down.' Some were getting up, walking and moaning. Some were not moving. It was kind of scary."
Clarke said he stopped to help but at that point, civilians were already assisting cyclists. He said first responders arrived in minutes.
He said he saw a pickup truck with front-end damage stopped near the ditch.
When Clarke tried to return to Sherwood Park at about 11:30 a.m., he said the roadway was rerouted to the 17th street overpass. RCMP said lanes that were closed after the collision have since reopened.
'Pay attention, keep your head up'
Deputy Chief Tim Moen with Strathcona County Emergency Services said the uninjured cyclists were transported out of the area by bus.
He said the collision happened in an area where the cyclists would have been highly visible.
"They have as much right to be on the road as motorists, so this is a very unfortunate event. And my advice to motorists is pay attention, keep your head up," Moen said. "Don't look at your cell phone."
"This should never have happened."
The investigation continues.