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A cruiser bike was propped against an electrical pole on Grey Street and a black helmet was near the curb as Winnipeg police investigated a fatal hit-and-run in the Munroe neighbourhood Thursday morning.
Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, police said emergency crews were called to the intersection of Moncton Avenue and Grey Street for reports of a crash between a vehicle and a cyclist. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene, police said, and the cyclist, who was identified as a 50-year-old man, was taken to hospital in critical condition, where he died.
No other details were released on Thursday by police who investigated the area between Munroe and Moncton overnight and into the morning. Officers could be seen photographing evidence strewn across the street before 8 a.m. Thursday with numerous markers spread out on the pavement.
Police had not yet identified the driver of the vehicle as of Thursday and asked anyone with information or witnesses to contact investigators at 204-986-7085 or call Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
The fatal collision in the school zone on Grey Street was the second serious incident Wednesday involving a person on a bike. That morning around 7:30 a.m., first responders were called to a crash at St. Anne’s Road and Bank Avenue.
A man who had been riding his bike was taken to hospital in unstable condition after being hit by a vehicle, but was later upgraded to stable, police said. Police did not provide additional details of that collision Thursday.
Preliminary data from Manitoba Public Insurance show 35 people had been killed on public roads in Manitoba as of July 30. Last year, 77 people died.
MPI said one cyclist has been killed so far this year. Preliminary data on injuries for the year was not available.
MPI statistics indicate most bicycle-vehicle collisions happen in urban settings and, based on a 10-year average, two cyclists die and 129 are injured each year. Most collisions happen in the summer, MPI said, and from April to June this year there’s been a 60 per cent increase in speed-related driving offences.
Clayton Rudy, board co-chair with Bike Winnipeg, said the organization is pushing for reduced speeds where people on bikes and vehicles cross paths.
"A lot of Winnipeggers cycle in the city and the whole community is sad when there is an injury or fatality on the road," Rudy said. "Unfortunately, it discourages some people from being on their bikes and being on their bikes more often.
"It’s just really sad when somebody loses their life on the road."
Rudy said anecdotal reports indicate people are choosing to walk or ride bicycles more frequently this summer, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he worries the number serious collisions may increase when school resumes in the fall. Bike Winnipeg is supportive of reducing residential speed limits to 30 km/hr citywide, he added.
"For a long time, serious injuries and fatalities using the road system have been tolerated culturally," the accredited level-two road safety professional and traffic operations engineer said. "We’ve started to see that culture shift and it’s beginning to be that losing your life walking or being on a bike is not tolerated as much as it used to be.
"We need to have far reaching policy-level decisions, made by the provincial and city government, to support that changing culture," Rudy said.
Seven pedestrians have been killed on public roadways this year in Manitoba, including one in Winnipeg, MPI said.
On Wednesday, Brandon RCMP reported a 30-year-old female pedestrian died around 4:15 a.m. A driver travelling westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway hit the woman, who police said was lying on the road.
Last year, Manitoba recorded one of its deadliest years for pedestrian fatalities in two decades, with at least 12 pedestrian deaths on public roadways in the first nine-months of 2019. Year end totals were not made available by MPI on Thursday.
— with files from Sarah Lawrynuik
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
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