Ottawa

2nd cyclist struck on O'Connor Street bike lane pedalled world without mishap — until now

Gary King pedalled thousands of kilometres around the world without a single mishap — until he was struck by a car Wednesday afternoon during his first spin along the new O'Connor Street bike lane, right here in his home town.

Cyclist Gary King was struck by car pulling out of parking lot Wednesday afternoon

Gary King pedalled thousands of kilometres around the world without a single mishap — until he was struck by a car Wednesday afternoon during his first spin along the new O'Connor Street bike lane, right here in his home town. 1:33

Gary King pedalled thousands of kilometres around the world without a single mishap — until he was struck by a car Wednesday afternoon during his first spin along the new O'Connor Street bike lane, right here in his home town.

Adding to the irony, King, 56, was on his way home from a meeting on safe cycling networks when he collided with a car pulling out of the parking lot behind Mamma Teresa Ristorante at Somerset Street.

The avid cyclist, who has biked from California to Florida and across several European countries, said he was heading north and had only been travelling in the lane for a few blocks when the vehicle suddenly emerged and "bounced" him into the street.
Avid cyclist Gary King recently biked from California to Florida. (Gary King)

He's the second cyclist known to have been struck in the new bike lane since its official opening last week.

"The driver was looking the other way, and I guess when he had an opening in the traffic he hit the gas and came through and struck me with the front of his car," King told CBC News.

King was taken to hospital, but said he's "fine" besides a sore knee and ankle.

Restaurant owner 'petrified' this would happen

The owner of  Mamma Teresa Ristorante said he's been "petrified" something like this might happen ever since the bike lane opened.

"It's very dangerous. When [drivers] pull out of our parking lot, they don't have a clear vision of the cyclists," said Frank Schimizzi.

The owner of Mamma Teresa Ristorante kept Gary King's bike in the eatery's basement after the collision until the cyclist was able to retrieve it Wednesday night. (Gary King)

He said he's been acting as a "valet" — along with running his restaurant — because some of his customers and delivery drivers are now too "nervous" about the bike lane.

A hydro pole near the entrance to the parking lot creates a blind spot, Schimizzi said. And he's worried visibility will only get worse this winter once snow starts piling up.

2nd collision 'concerning,' city says

Both the cyclist and the restaurant owner agree that more signs are needed. 

"These private driveways come out onto a bike lane. It's not a proper intersection. Maybe there should be signage at the exit of the driveway that alerts that there's cyclists travelling in either direction," said King.

Frank Schimizzi, owner of Mamma Teresa Ristorante, says he's been 'petrified' that a cyclist would get hit by a car ever since the new bike lane opened. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)
The city's manager of traffic services said the second collision is "concerning," and said the city plans to continue its awareness campaign to educate people about the new lanes. 

"It's early on," said Phil Landry. "Our hope is as time goes on people will become accustomed to the new traffic flows, and bicycle flows, on that road."

The cyclist said the collision won't stop him from getting back on his bike, and he's hoping to thank the three pedestrians who stayed with him until police and paramedics arrived on Wednesday afternoon.

"It was very comforting … so thanks to them," said King.