Oh Canada, Oh NO!

Oh Canada, I expect better from you.  The horrific crash last week is tragic and really awful, made far worse by the ugly comments folks have written and posted to the CBC News website where this article comes from.

(Article copied below without permission from CBC News- Montreal)

Quebec truck crash kills 3 cyclists, injures 3

Accident was like a ‘bowling match,’ survivor says

Last Updated: Friday, May 14, 2010 | 10:50 PM ET Comments896Recommend424

The accident that killed three cyclists and injured three others southeast of Montreal on Friday was like a “bowling match,” says one of the survivors.

The cyclists, all from Montreal’s south shore, were hit from behind by a pickup truck.

“I felt like I was flying and everyone around me was flying,” Jean Dessureault said.

Cyclists Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, left, and Christine Deschamps, were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck in Rougemont, Que. A third cyclist, Lyn Duhamel, also died.

Cyclists Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, left, and Christine Deschamps, were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck in Rougemont, Que. A third cyclist, Lyn Duhamel, also died. (Saint-Lambert Triathlon Club/CBC)The cyclists, members of the Saint-Lambert Triathlon Club, were training for an Ironman competition in Lake Placid, N.Y., in July, Dessureault told the CBC’s French-language service.

The three women who died have been identified as Sandra de la Garza Aguilar, 36, of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que., Lyn Duhamel, 39, of Boucherville, Que., and Christine Deschamps, 44, of Brossard, Que.

Dessureault, and the two other injured cyclists — both women — were released from hospital on Friday afternoon.

“We trained together all the time,” Dessureault said. “It is horrible — they were young women in perfect health.”

Heading to Sherbrooke

The crash scene stretched more than 30 metres along Highway 112 near Rougemont and was strewn with mangled bike frames, shoes, water bottles and a wristwatch.

The cyclists are friends who regularly ride together and were en route to Sherbrooke on Friday morning as part of their training for the triathlon season, police said.

The pickup struck them just before 10 a.m. The truck driver, who was heading east at the time, was not injured. Police said he rushed to help the cyclists and administered first aid.

“The driver of the vehicle in question was a man and alcohol is not a factor,” said Quebec provincial police Sgt. Claude Denis

.Cyclist Jean Dessureault, who survived the crash, said it felt like a 'bowling match.'

Cyclist Jean Dessureault, who survived the crash, said it felt like a ‘bowling match.’ (CBC)

He said it was too soon to say what caused the accident or whether charges will be laid.

The group was training at the same time as a faster pack of riders farther down the road.

Shortly before the crash, the survivors had been riding two by two, said a spokesman for the club, Éric Lemyre. But they returned to a single file formation because the road had no paved shoulder.

“They didn’t even see the car coming, everything was very quick,” Lemyre said. “[all of a sudden], three people they love were lying on the street.”

The weather was cloudy, but no rain was reported in the morning. Highway traffic was rerouted while police investigated.

The highway was closed until just before 8 p.m.

No paved shoulders

Bruno Sévigny, a member of the same cycling club, was riding about an hour behind the victims on Friday.

Six cyclists were en route to Sherbrooke as part of their training for triathlon season when the crash happened.

Six cyclists were en route to Sherbrooke as part of their training for triathlon season when the crash happened. (CBC)

Still dressed in his cycling gear, he told reporters on the scene he was in complete shock.

“It’s obviously very dangerous here,” Sévigny said.

Marc Villeneuve, a resident in the region, said he regularly rides around Rougemont but doesn’t use Highway 112 because it has no paved shoulders.

“I avoid that area,” he told CBC News, standing near the crash scene. “There is no shoulder on the road. So even if the car [lanes] are doubled on each side, the traffic is very fast and there’s gravel on the [side].

“It’s very dangerous.”

Officials with Quebec’s Transport Ministry said the province had already planned to repave the section of the highway where the crash occurred and would also pave the shoulders.

Work is to start in the next few weeks, said ministry spokeswoman Julie Morin.

Cyclists have ‘right to be there’

The crash is a tragic reminder for transport officials about the pressing need to make roads safer for two-wheeled vehicles, said Suzanne Lareau, president of cycling advocacy group Vélo-Québec.

Under Quebec highway rules, any road travelled by more than 5,000 vehicles a day must have paved shoulders.

Police say they aren't sure how many cyclists were directly struck by the truck.

Police say they aren’t sure how many cyclists were directly struck by the truck. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

“I can’t understand why on this part of the road, why the shoulder was not paved,” she said.

The accident is an occasion to remind drivers of the need to share the road with cyclists, said Jean-Marie de Koninck, president of the province’s Road Safety Experts Group.

“You have to slow down because the cyclists have the right to be there, and you must leave them enough space to drive safely,” de Koninck said.

The crash bears a chilling resemblance to a similar incident last summer in Ottawa, when five experienced cyclists were struck.

None of them died, but one spent months recovering in hospital. The driver in that incident has been charged with hit and run.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/05/14/quebec-cycling-accident.html#socialcomments#ixzz0oCTw1L81

CBC News

The comments that follow the article are irrational, senseless and lack regard for human life. Not all of them, but enough to break my heart. What the hell is wrong with you people to the north? I expect harsh and merciless comments from the lower 48 and upper 49th but wow you folks are truly Americanized now.

One of the ideas talked about in the article’s sounding board was about making cyclist’s stick to bicycle paths. Cyclist should not be relegated to only riding along bicycle paths, contrary to what so many drivers would have us believe. By the way, when I hear a driver say that, to me it sounds like they are admitting their unwillingness to share the road. Bicycle paths are used by cyclists of all riding styles, but are not proper places for high speed training. Imagine if you were out riding with your children and out of nowhere comes a skin-suited roadie shouting,” On your Left!” you’d jump and your kids would probably crash.

A few years ago my mother was riding on a verdant gentle Cape Cod path and was hit by a skin suited roadie who not man enough to take his “training” to the streets with the rest of us. My mom was minding her own business, riding with my Dad, when out of nowhere came a maniac shouting,”On your left!”.  This startled her and caused her to jerk her handle bars as she craned her neck to see what was coming at her, she tumbled to the ground and bruised her ribs. She has no interest in bicycling again.  Paved bicycle paths are a wonderful addition to our towns and cities but will never, and should never be the only places we ride, nor should they be used irresponsibly by more “advanced” riders.

Yesterday as I rolled off a (dirt) trail, a bumblebee on a Cervelo tri bike wooshed passed me so I decided to use what was left in my tank to try and catch up and suck his wheel. I worked hard and eventually caught him.  His dirty looks made me laugh and I could sense his frustration growing the longer I stayed with him, while wearing my baggy mid-ranger Fox shorts and riding beloved 29er, . Which sadly, I think was the reason he made some stupid traffic decisions, like blowing through a red light without stopping. I actually stopped and almost caught him again, because he kept turning back to see if I was coming. To my surprise, when he made his u-turn to retreat he offered me his middle finger (not the Contador greeting) I was shocked, so I posed this query to the bumblebee : “what’s worse the nipple chaff from your bib or the top tube chaff on your gut?”

In all seriousness though, the images from Quebec are hard for me to look at and I hope scare the hell out of the drivers who see them. Regardless of how you feel about cyclists on “your” roads, killing them is a ridiculous response, bicycles are human powered vehicles, remember that. Please pay more attention and try and recall that you once probably rode a bicycle and I would wager that your children are out doing so right now.


One Response to “Oh Canada, Oh NO!”

  1. margaretconstantino says:

    It was very hard for me to read this article. Brought back bad memories, and made me think again how lucky I am to still have you. I really was frighten on that bike trail, but hope to try it again. Keep pushing for bike safety and I would do the same.