Cyclist dies in collision with truck in Victoria’s Chinatown

“Initial investigation revealed that a truck was travelling southbound on Government Street and through the process of turning right on Fisgard Street collided with the cyclist, who was also travelling southbound,” said Victoria police Const. Matt Rutherford.

He said paramedics tried to help the Victoria woman, “but unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries.” There were also reports of bystanders trying to assist, he said.

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Rutherford said a number of 911 calls reporting that a cyclist had been struck were received just before 8:30 a.m.

The Fisgard and Government intersection was cordoned off, with road closures extending to Douglas Street, Store Street, Pandora Avenue and Herald Street.

Government Street has bike lanes between Fisgard Street and Gorge Road East.

Rutherford said the driver is co-operating with police.

The 51-year-old truck driver was delivering vegetables from Port Alberni in a new five-ton truck, and was working for Max’s Mushrooms.

“He was devastated,” Max Seelenmayer, owner of Max’s Mushrooms, said Tuesday night. “He was in tears when he called and it hasn’t changed all day.”

Seelenmayer described the trucker as a good driver who has about nine years’ experience with the company.

“Let me tell you what kind of a guy he is. He gave his mother a kidney so she could have a couple of extra years.”

The company hasn’t had so much as a ticket in years, he said. Tuesday was the worst day in his 13 years in business, Seelenmayer said.

Cyclists in the Chinatown area expressed sorrow at the woman’s death.

“That’s horribly sad, very sorry to hear it,” Adrian Gibbons said.

Still, things have generally been improving for cyclists, he said. “It’s a lot safer than it used to be, but it’s still a little scary out there sometimes,” he said. “I’ve been knocked about four or five times.

“You have to really watch a lot, keep your eyes open, but it’s still a great way to get around.”

Gibbons said he tries to be “super defensive” when he rides his bicycle. “You’re pretty vulnerable on a bike,” he said. “You’re very vulnerable.”

Cordelia Horsburgh, who described herself as a strong cycling advocate, said there is a definite “fear factor” for her when she is on her bicycle.

“I think more needs to be done in terms of all-ages and all-abilities cycling lanes,” she said.

“I’m glad to see that Victoria, the city council members and the mayor, working in that direction and there’s that new investment with [the] Biketoria” initiative.

Bike lanes are not always continuous and sometimes stop and start in the downtown area, Horsburgh said.

Rutherford said drivers and cyclists both need to take care. “The weather is getting nicer, we’re getting closer to summer, so cyclists have to be careful, as well as drivers,” he said.

Victoria police ask anyone who witnessed the collision to call them at 250-995-7654 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

jwbell@timescolonist.com

— With a file from Katherine Dedyna

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