April 4, 2020

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Cyclist's death sparks inquiry call

Traffic safety audit needed, bike advocate and councillor say

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>The scene of a fatal accident involving a truck and a cyclist on Higgins Avenue Tuesday.</p>

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The scene of a fatal accident involving a truck and a cyclist on Higgins Avenue Tuesday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/6/2019 (304 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The death of a bicyclist on Higgins Avenue at King Street — the second such incident in seven years — has sparked calls for a traffic safety audit of the area.

The bicyclist died Tuesday at the scene, after colliding with the cab of a transport truck at around 1:45 p.m.

A single red bicycle with a mangled wheel was still on the sidewalk hours after the collision.

Winnipeg police blocked traffic on Higgins Avenue between Main and Princess streets for a few hours while officers gathered evidence.

While no details were released about the age or gender of the deceased — or how the collision occurred — a bike advocate and a city councillor who is a longtime bike path booster said the City of Winnipeg has to look at the intersection and other nearby streets to see how safe they are for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, said he’s upset because it’s not the first bicyclist killed in the area.

Violet Nelson, 35, chairwoman of the Native Women’s Transition Centre, was cycling to the grand opening of the Kihiw Iskewock Lodge in May 2012, when she collided with a vehicle and fell in front of a semi-trailer on Higgins Avenue just west of Main Street.

Cohoe said there was another fatality a block south, when a pedestrian on her way to work at Siloam Mission was struck and killed by a truck at Logan Avenue and King Street in July 2015.

"It is kind of a confusing intersection and you can maintain high speeds there," he said. "It is a high-flow kind of route, and it is really set up to move people through as quickly as possible, but at the same time, you have people walking and cycling.

"It’s high time a safety study is done there. It’s clear we have a major safety issue in these few blocks."

Cohoe said a safety audit would look at all areas of traffic flow, including whether there should be a stop sign (instead of a yield) for northbound vehicles on King Street turning right onto eastbound Higgins Avenue, and whether the speed limit should be slower.

"We need to make sure if someone makes a mistake in future it doesn’t end in tragedy. We don’t want it to happen again — it has already happened too much."

Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) said Tuesday she’ll be speaking with Cohoe with the idea of putting forward a motion calling for a safety audit of the area.

Lukes sat on the city’s active transportation advisory committee and was appointed the first chair of the province’s active transportation advisory group prior to becoming a city councillor.

"I’m just dreading this season, because we’ve done a pathetic job in education," she said. "We’re good now at putting in more (bike) infrastructure, but with more bikes and more people, we need more education for cyclists and drivers."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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