Ottawa

5 Ottawa cyclists remain in hospital

Five cyclists who were struck by a van on a stretch of suburban road in Ottawa's west end Sunday remained in hospital on Tuesday morning.

Five cyclists who were struck by a van on a stretch of suburban road in Ottawa's west end Sunday remained in hospital on Tuesday morning.

One of the cyclists, Robert Wein, 39, remains in critical condition and has yet to regain consciousness.

The five cyclists — three men and two women, ranging in age from 27 to 45 — were riding along March Road in Kanata, near Solandt Road, when they were struck shortly before 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Police have said that the cyclists were travelling within the designated bike lane, but also that the investigation is continuing.

A van involved in the crash left the scene.

A man turned himself in several hours later, said police. They reported he had been driving his wife's beige minivan at the time of the collision.

Sommit Luangpakham, 45, has been charged with five counts of failing to stop at the scene of a collision causing bodily harm.

Const. Alain Boucher said investigators face some difficult challenges in reconstructing what happened during the crash.

"It's not a clear-cut accident like any other accident," he said.

"The people involved — some of them are not able to talk to us. So that's what the officers are doing, they're doing a background search on where the cyclists were, where the driver of the vehicle was prior to this."

Luangpakham's bail hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Bicycle safety questioned

Ottawa's cycling advisory committee gathered Monday night to talk about what could be done to better protect cyclists who use bike lanes.

Roger Beauchesne, who chaired the meeting, said the city should consider raising the fines drivers receive for crossing into bike lanes.

"Ottawa could benefit a lot by looking at other cities in Canada," he said, putting forward the example of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

"In busy sections, like close to a super market, you have these little plastic posts that are bolted into the pavement," he said.

"If you hit those, the driver knows he's too close to the bicycle lane."

Lance Armstrong sends words of support

Lance Armstrong, who has won the Tour de France seven times and is currently competing in the road race, has sent his well wishes to the five cyclists.

During the competition, Armstrong has been posting video blogs on his livestrong.com website. On Monday, he mentioned the five cyclists on his blog.

"There was a group of cyclists hit in Ottawa yesterday ... I hope everyone there is doing well and we're thinking about you," he said in his blog.

"Be safe on the roads because anytime you have the interaction between bikes and cars, you never know what can happen."

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