BRANDON -- A cyclist from Toronto killed Monday after he was hit by an SUV was biking across the country raising money for the World Wildlife Foundation's conservation efforts.
Graeme Loader, 24, was struck by an SUV on Highway 1A near Brandon just after 8 p.m.
In a post written by WWF community engagement officer Kyla Marshall about two weeks ago, Loader was described as "not an avid biker, but he is an avid adventurer guided by love and respect for wildlife and nature."
Loader flew to Vancouver with his bike on July 15, planning on cycling to the east coast, according to his personal blog.
He was biking eastward when an SUV travelling in the same direction struck him. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said it remains unclear if he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, although a helmet was located at the scene.
The 28-year-old female driver of the vehicle and three passengers, all from Sioux Valley First Nation in Manitoba, were uninjured.
Loader's co-worker, Josh Bissell, called Loader "a great guy and an inspired photographer."
Loader made a last post to his fundraising page on Facebook about five hours before he was killed.
"I’ve been repeating a phrase that popped into my head this morning," Loader wrote. "‘I am where I am because I am.’ It’s incredible what can happen when you accept the unexpected and embrace every moment.
"While planning this trip I realized there was a great opportunity to raise money for charity, so I’ve decided to ride for what I am most passionate about, the Earth."
Loader was cycling alone when he was killed, RCMP said.
"WWF-Canada is incredibly saddened by the loss of this energetic, talented, and wonderful young man," WWF president and CEO, former-Toronto-mayor David Miller confirmed in a statement Tuesday.
"Graeme was cycling across Canada, exploring our amazing country, enjoying its nature, from B.C. headed east, home to the Toronto area … He was also graciously raising money for WWF-Canada."
The Toronto Star reported Loader’s ride began in mid-July in British Columbia. He took a number of photos for the WWF while travelling, many of which were posted to his blog. According to the WWF’s webpage set up for the ride, he had raised around $4,500 for the charity. His goal was $15,000.
RCMP reported another fatal crash on the holiday Monday.
The driver of an SUV was killed when his truck rolled into a ditch full of water and landed on its roof.
At about 9 a.m., the vehicle was driving east on Highway 297 (Cormorant Lake Road) about 25 kilometres east of the turn at Clearwater Lake when the driver lost control. The vehicle then rolled and landed upside down in the water, RCMP said in a news release.
The passenger of the vehicle, a 20-year-old man from Cormorant, Man., was able to escape from the vehicle. The driver, a 29-year-old male from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, was pronounced dead on the scene.
Police say alcohol was likely a factor in the accident.