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'How much is a life worth?' Winnipeg's cycling community outraged following fatal hit-and-run


Winnipeg's cycling community is outraged following the hit-and-run death of a 61-year-old cyclist on Wellington Crescent on Thursday.

Multiple cyclists held a sit-in protest at Wellington Crescent near Cockburn Street North Friday afternoon, the site of the crash at 7 a.m. Thursday. The cyclist, a 61-year-old man, was taken to hospital in critical condition, where he died from his injuries.

Patty Wiens, a board member with the cycling advocacy group Bike Winnipeg, said she felt shock and horror when she learned of the man’s death, saying the stretch of road where the hit-and-run happened is a dangerous stretch for cyclists as it’s not part of the dedicated bike areas on the same street.

“People who are using their bikes for transportation to get to work, they want to take the quickest way possible,” she said. “And this is the quickest way possible to get to the rest of the network that connects after Stradbrook.”

“This is also a stretch where people who drive like to cut through so that they don't have to take Corydon or Osborne, so it becomes a rat run right here, where people are going super fast, impatient and not really always watching for cyclists.”

Police investigated the crash, and determined a white BMW was being driven at a high speed when it hit the cyclist and left the scene. Police said both the BMW and the cyclist were travelling in the same direction.

Beckham Keneth Severight, 19, was arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

He is in custody and the charges have not been proven in court.

'I don't want to get killed'

Bill Spornitz, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said there needs to be better traffic planning and engineering to incorporate cyclists.

“We go to other cities, they've already built out all this huge active transportation stuff, and us, we're still killing folks in the morning on a pretty safe street,” he said.

"Everybody who rides their bike in Winnipeg knows that no matter what they say, you're taking your life into your hands."

One cyclist said they are fearful of the area.

"I cycle on the sidewalk because I don't want to get killed. It's as simple as that," said Chris Albi.

Wiens said Bike Winnipeg has been advocating for bike lanes and cyclist protection in the area.

“We're always told there's limited resources. Well, how much is a life worth?” she said. “A life was lost in this stretch that we've been begging for. How many lives are almost lost on this stretch? How many people don't even take this stretch because they're terrified? So we'd like to know what's next. We'd like to know why our safety is not a priority in the budget.”

Wiens said they now want action from city council.

"I'm afraid that what will happen if our city doesn't take this as a priority is more people will die," she said. Top Stories

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