Cyclist hit by SUV on enhanced active transportation route calls for improvements
WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg man is calling for improvements along the city’s enhanced active transportation routes after being hit a vehicle.
Jesse Hajer said he was hurt while cycling when he and the driver of an SUV collided.
He said it happened in the area of Wolseley Aveenue and Clifton Street on Saturday afternoon. The area has restrictions in place limiting motor vehicle traffic seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
It comes as city council prepares to vote on extending the temporary routes until Labour Day.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” said Hajer. “I don’t like to necessarily focus on blaming individual drivers. I think people do need to follow the rules of the road.”
Hajer said he suffered minor injuries in the collision.
He said he was riding with other adults and was behind a group of six and seven-year-olds during a bike ride for a child’s birthday party. Hajer said he noticed the driver of the SUV travelling behind him in the same direction, so he put up his hand to caution the driver but he said the driver honked and tried to pass by him and that’s when the collision occurred.
“I kind of hit the front end of his vehicle on the driver’s side and I kind of went up on his hood and windshield and ended up hitting pretty hard into that,” said Hajer. “I don’t think he meant to hit me, he just was trying to get through.”
Hajer said both he and the driver were moving slowly when the collision occurred.
Wolseley is one of nine dedicated walking and cycling routes, where vehicle traffic is currently limited seven days a week for 12 hours each day starting at 8 a.m.
The city expanded on four designated walking and cycling routes which are usually only in place on Sundays and holidays to make more space for physical distancing.
Councillor Sherri Rollins, who knows Hajer, supports the continuation of the routes but acknowledged some improvements may be needed.
“Very concerned whenever a friend is hit on the road,” Rollins said during an interview. “There has been calls to situate the barricades, more of them, in order to get to a narrowing of the roads so that cars are not going more than 30 kilometres (per hour) on them.”
The temporary measure is set to expire July 6 unless city council votes Friday to extend the routes until Labour Day.
Councillor Ross Eadie supports the move but in order for it to work, he said people need to share the roadway and respect each other.
“What’s happened is you have cyclists, you have drivers, you have pedestrians even who, you know... they need to grow up,” said Eadie. “We can’t enforce every linear metre of these routes but the city is doing this for a very important reason. It’s for everyone’s good health and people need to cooperate.”
Hajer said the collision he was involved in is being dealt with through the Manitoba Public Insurance claims process as there was damage to the vehicle.
For his part, he said the road restrictions should be in place all day. He’d also like to see planters or barricades installed every few blocks and thinks the speed limit should be reduced to 30.
“I think we need to create these spaces so that everyone feels safe,” said Hajer.
He also feels more education, signage and warnings to road users would help.
The city said in a statement if council votes to extend the temporary routes it will be looking at current signage, outreach and other factors.
Both the city and Winnipeg Police Service said most road users have complied with posted signage and that there have been few issues.
A spokesperson said the city enforces the permanent active transportation routes through a bylaw.
Winnipeg police said Tuesday because the temporary routes were a pilot project, the road restrictions were not supported by any new bylaws which have hindered officers from issuing any tickets for breaking the rules.
Police said in a statement tickets could be issued through The Highway Traffic Act for flagrant or repeated behaviour but that wouldn’t be proportional to the normal penalties for disobeying Sunday and Holiday bike routes.
Police said so far no tickets have been issued and that officers will attend to complaints and encourage cooperation between all road users.