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PHOTOS: Windsor Cyclists Honour Cyclists Hurt Or Killed On The Roads

Wednesday May 20th, 2015, 8:33pm


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More than 60 cyclists biked down the streets of Windsor led by a hearse to advocate for bike safety and cycling awareness.

Lori Newton, president of Bike Friendly Windsor-Essex, organized the Ride of Silence Wednesday evening. Now in it’s fifth year, it’s done in nearly 500 cities to advocate for bike safety and better infrastructure.

“We’re really starting to gain some ground here I think we’re reaching a tipping point in Windsor and Essex where we we’re getting much more interest and as we develop more safe places for people to ride their bicycles we’re seeing more people actually out on the roads,” said Newton. “We know that fear of bike riding and fear of collisions with vehicles is the number one reason why people don’t cycle so we’re trying to change that.”

Oliver Swainson is a Windsorite who has been injured riding his bike before and said the most important lessons to take from being injured are for cyclists and drivers to be aware of their surroundings, and for cyclists to report any accidents at the time they happen because a cyclist may not realize right away they have been injured.

“I was traveling down Dougall towards Ouellette and I was passing by the old Superstore parking lot and a driver, an elderly gentleman in a minivan, didn’t look left when he was turning out and neglected to check for traffic,” said Swainson. “I could tell because I was traveling in my lane following the rules of the road, as a cyclist should, on the road with traffic and he pulled out and t-boned me essentially into traffic and fortunately he noticed quickly enough to stop relatively quickly. I didn’t actually realize I was injured until I continued on my ride later that day to work and I was unable to work that day.”

Similar stories were heard all over the parking lot at The Willistead, some about riders who were not so lucky. Nicole Hutchinson was riding with her family in honor of her dad’s sister who was killed in a cycling accident.

“I try to ride my bike as often as I can but I’m also very afraid because sometimes motorists don’t pay attention,” said Hutchinson. “When it comes to busy rush hour, I’ve been riding down Riverside Drive and sometimes motorists don’t really pay attention to anyone coming up on their right and will turn quickly without looking. And as a cyclist I need to also be aware myself of the rules of the road so I think it’s on both sides, we have to pay attention.”

Newton said while there are trails to cycle on in the county, one would need to strap their bike onto a car to get there and connecting the neighborhoods with bike lanes is something Bike Friendly is advocating for right now.

However, Ride of Silence participant Owen Swain said Windsor does have more awareness than other cities and he is glad to see events like this advocating for cyclist safety.

“Share the road actually means share the road, it doesn’t mean cyclists are anarchists and rule but there are lots of cyclists who don’t think that way,” said Swain. “There is more awareness for cyclists in Windsor, we are seeing it on the roads with the bike lanes. I think we are seeing a change in attitude and the more people that we see on bikes in normal clothes riding where they’re supposed to be riding, the more we’re saying the community we belong here.”

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