Bombers want safety review after cyclist death

A 69-year-old cyclist who died after being struck en route to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game has prompted the football club to call for action from the city.

Dick Stevenson, a longtime Bombers fan, was on his way to pre-season game

Bombers want safety review after cyclist death

7 years ago
A 69-year-old cyclist who died after being struck en route to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game has prompted the football club to call for action from the city. 2:02

A 69-year-old cyclist who died after being hit en route to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game has prompted the football club to call for action from the city.

Dick Stevenson, a longtime Bombers fan, was cycling to the pre-season game on Monday when he was hit near Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Pembina Highway at about 5:30 p.m. He was rushed to hospital, where he later died.

“We would just like to, on behalf of the football organization, give our condolences to the Stevenson family through this tough time,” said club president and CEO Wade Miller.

Miller called on the city to review its active transportation infrastructure.

"He was coming to a Bomber game, but this can happen any time in the city of Winnipeg," Miller told CBC News in an interview. "I'm a cyclist myself and there is a lack of proper cycling lanes in the city."

Miller said Bombers fans have embraced the city's active transportation plan, but more needs to be done to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are kept as safe as possible at all times.

"[There are] many hundreds cycling to the game, thousands walking in as pedestrians and tens of thousands using public transportation and Park and Rides," he said. 

"It's very different from the old stadium and we just want to ensure the infrastructure is adequate to protect our fans on busy game days."

'It's time for some leadership at city hall'

He added that Pembina Highway is a challenge for cyclists even when it's not busy on game days.

"It's extremely busy on Pembina Highway, whether you're coming to the stadium or whether you're commuting home through that Bishop Grandin area," he said.

Miller said hearing of delays and possible changes to plans for the next leg of Winnipeg's rapid transit system — plans that would include bike paths — is frustrating.

"It's time for some leadership at city hall," he said.

"It's time to, you know, really take a look at the active transportation infrastructure, along with other things, and start moving our city forward."

Bike Winnipeg, a cycling advocacy group, says the city is moving too slowly on bike lanes to Investors Group Field.

Executive director Mark Cohoe said there is a plan for a safe cycling route to the stadium, but it has yet to be completed.

"We keep putting things off and putting them off," he said.

"If we invest in things like protected bike lanes, if we invest in things like advance stop lights, we can actually make a difference."

He said the Pembina and Bishop Grandin area in particular can be difficult for cyclists to navigate and urged drivers to be patient.

“There are lots of conflict areas that you have to be aware of, and as a motorist you have to be aware that some cyclist may be positioning themselves in a way to protect themselves, and you need to really be patient with that cyclist,” he said.

Cohoe said people going to Investors Group Field aren't the only ones who need safe bike lanes, pointing to the approxmiately 30,000 students and faculty at the University of Manitoba campus, where the stadium is located.

Mayor responds

Mayor Sam Katz said the second phase of rapid transit does have cycling infrastructure built in, and a new active transportation path is planned for Markham Road.

Katz said the Blue Bombers went straight to the media without talking with him first.

"I don't believe there's any tensions that I'm aware of, but this happens once in a while; might have been an oversight," he told Radio-Canada's Jacques Marcoux.

Katz said once the city receives the Bombers' concerns, they will be forwarded to the active transportation committee.

"I think you can see over the last 10 years, we made phenomenal progress with our active transportation ... We've added on and invested over $80 million in the last little while to basically improve and expand," he said.

"By the same token, you want people to be safe — that's extremely a valuable component of active transportation. And the realities are the safer it is, the more people will use active transportation such as bikes."

But a representative for the Bombers released a statement to CBC saying a letter was sent to city officials Thursday morning, "first thing."

The statement also said this isn't the first time the organization has brought concerns to city officials.

"Concerns about active transportation as a whole have been raised on multiple occasions at these meetings, most recently on May 28 and June 6," the statement read.

Winnipeg police say they are still investigating the crash and anyone with information is asked to contact police at 204-986-6271 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.


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