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Opinion

She thought bridge locks were a sweet idea -- until she was injured

Yoko Chapman gashed her arm on a love lock on the pedestrian bridge linking Wolseley to Wellington Crescent. Her wound required 21 stitches.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Yoko Chapman gashed her arm on a love lock on the pedestrian bridge linking Wolseley to Wellington Crescent. Her wound required 21 stitches.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/9/2015 (1135 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

And now the rest of the story.

You may recall the column from last week in which I described the search for why and when all the so-called love locks had been removed from the pedestrian/bike path on the railway bridge between Wellington Crescent and the Omand's Creek Greenway.

The city had them cut off and carted away Aug. 31. The "why" was the intriguing part. The city said it got a complaint about someone being "seriously injured after coming in contact with one or more of the locks."

How seriously, I wondered, could anyone be injured by love locks? "According to the complaint," the city answered, "an individual was cut after making contact with one or more of the locks and required stitches."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/9/2015 (1135 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

And now the rest of the story.

You may recall the column from last week in which I described the search for why and when all the so-called love locks had been removed from the pedestrian/bike path on the railway bridge between Wellington Crescent and the Omand's Creek Greenway.

The city had them cut off and carted away Aug. 31. The "why" was the intriguing part. The city said it got a complaint about someone being "seriously injured after coming in contact with one or more of the locks."

How seriously, I wondered, could anyone be injured by love locks? "According to the complaint," the city answered, "an individual was cut after making contact with one or more of the locks and required stitches."

"The love locks left someone in stitches," I flippantly wrote in Friday's column. "No wonder the city took down all those dangerous love locks and trucked them all away."

And then an email arrived from the injured person, the one who was left in stitches. Twenty-one of them. Whereupon I called her.

Yoko Chapman is a 45-year-old Wolseley resident and the editor-in-chief and artistic director of Ayoko Magazine. She said it was probably her 311 phone call to report what happened that prompted the city's decision to rid the bridge of the love locks.

"I felt so sad," Yoko wrote, "that I was the catalyst for the destruction of all those declarations of true love, but... "

We'll get to that "but." But first, a spot of irony.

Yoko said she had been planning to contact me and report what happened before the story appeared in Friday's column.

Yoko had hesitated because she was concerned drawing attention to it might make the love-lock situation worse. That telling the story would only attract more razor-sharp locks.

And more unintended danger to passersby, especially children.

"As much as I would like to make light of the situation," Yoko wrote, "it was very serious."

Actually, after reading her email and speaking with her and a witness to what happened, it could have been even more serious.

So how did it happen? On Aug, 23, Yoko and her 11-year-old son, Jay, had ridden to Assiniboine Park and were on their way back home when they decided to take the railway bridge.

Yoko had just reached the beginning of the lock-loaded bridge — and was still in motion as she dismounted from her Beach Cruiser bike — when she felt her right arm snag.

At first there was no pain.

Just lots and lots of blood. "And when I looked, it was like this gaping slash," Yoko said.

The wound was on the fleshy part of her forearm.

Two veteran cyclists, Candy and Jeff Badger, had been approaching from other side of the bridge when Yoko was dismounting, and the couple stopped to ask if she was OK.

Yoko wasn't OK. But all the blood, and the gaping wound, wasn't the only evidence of that.

"She was shaking," Candy recalled Wednesday when we spoke.

Candy quickly took off one of her cycling sleeves and used it as a tourniquet.

"I am grateful for their help," Yoko said of Candy and Jeff. "I was really in shock at the time and bleeding a lot. They helped me walk my bike through Omand's Creek to meet my husband on the other side with the car."

They drove straight to the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre, where a doctor closed the wound with 21 stitches.

Now, here's where that "but" comes in.

"I can see people responding with a 'whatever' kind of attitude," Yoko said, "but it happened to me, and it could have been worse. I could have had nerve damage and loss of use of my dominant arm. My livelihood depends on the use of my arm. I am grateful it wasn't worse, but I am bitter that it happened."

"Thank God it wasn't my son," Yoko added. "Or his face."

There's another spot of irony to this story, I mean other than the one about Yoko meaning to call me about what happened before last week's column appeared. Yoko said before she was injured she had thought about placing a love lock on the bridge herself to commemorate her and husband Curtis Knudson's 20th anniversary.

Even now she thinks the locks are a sweet idea.

"I just think it's in a bad spot."

And you know what? Now that I've heard the rest of the story, I think she's right.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 7:52 AM CDT: Replaces photo, changes headline

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