Cyclist calls for bike safety awareness, need for trails following collision on Highway 21


By Barb McKay

A cyclist is lucky to be alive after being hit by a pickup truck while riding on Highway 21 last week and is asking drivers to pay attention and share the road.

Dr. Stephen Brown, a Chesley dentist who has a cottage in Kincardine, was cycling north on Highway 21 near Concession 7 on Thursday shortly before 6 p.m. when he was clipped by the truck. His wife Pat told The Independent on Monday that her husband called her from the scene and told her what had happened, which he also described to police who arrived on the scene.

Pat said Stephen was riding just inside the white line when a transport truck approached, heading south on the highway and hugging the centre line. The driver of a vehicle behind the transport truck was edging out, looking to pass, according to the pickup driver who gave his account to police and to Stephen. The pickup driver was watching the transport truck when he came up on Stephen.

Pat said her husband told her that the driver didn’t see him until he hit him. She said the driver feels terrible about what happened.

The passenger side mirror hit Stephen’s left elbow and sent him crashing to the ground. Incredibly, Pat said, he walked away from the accident without any broken bones. Stephen said the officer who responded to the call cycles to work regularly and has responded to a number of similar incidents.

Pat said drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and give cyclists more room. She said it is easy to understand how these accidents happen and there needs to be more awareness to prevent them.

“It could have been any of us driving that vehicle. You just glance down for a second to hit the button on the fan or change the radio channel and you have travelled many metres.”

She said cyclists are focused on riding in a straight line and can’t be looking behind them to see what’s coming. On many roads, Pat said, the shoulder is gravel and there isn’t much room for cyclists to manoeuvre.

“You can’t ride on the gravel and drivers don’t realize that. You’d blow a tire.”

Stephen and Pat say there should be more emphasis on creating trail systems, which would make it safer for cyclists to commute. They are excited about the plans for the Kincardine to Inverhuron Provincial Park trail extension and hope the Kincardine Trails Association will soon reach its fundraising goal with community support.