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Inattentive cyclist crashed into mom, daughter and friends walking on Goose

The cyclist came up from behind and hit me in the shoulder and my friend in the elbow. The bike landed on top of my daughter, who lay motionless, face down on the trail.
In this file photo, cyclists ride on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail near Taylor Road in Metchosin last year. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Two years ago, my family moved from downtown ­Victoria to View Royal, with a home that backs onto the Galloping Goose.

We were thrilled, being cyclists and using the trail system already to commute to work. My daughter was two at the time and I was excited for her to have a safe place to learn to ride her bike, to practice and be off the road.

Over the past year, we have used the trail less and less for the reasons described by Patricia Coppard in her May 19 column.

About six weeks ago, my daughter and I were ­walking to the Marigold School playground with her friend and her mom, along the Goose.

The cyclists were flying by us, to the point that we were shoulder-checking and my friend mentioned that someone could get really hurt if we weren’t careful.

She was quite nervous walking along. It was mid-day, not the busy commuter hours of morning and late afternoon.

On our way home, it was school pick-up time, the trail was busy, filled with parents picking up kids, kids on bikes, and families walking. We kept to the side of the trail and were enjoying a fresh spring day.

Suddenly, a cyclist was on top of us. He came up from behind seemingly out of nowhere.

Luckily, he was on a lightweight racing bike. He hit me in the shoulder, hit my friend in the elbow and we mothers took the brunt of the trauma and momentum, as my daughter walked between us.

He went over the handlebars and over my daughter as he braked, trying not to ride over her, and the bike landed squarely on top of my girl, who lay motionless, face down on the trail.

Her little friend was pushed into the blackberry bushes. The impact left all four of us on the ground.

Instinct took over and I threw the bike off my girl and scooped her up. She was in utter shock, with scrapes all across her face, bloody nose, and scraped hands and knees.

I am sure if it was a heavy e-bike, the outcome would have been much, much worse.

The cyclist was extremely apologetic. He said he wasn’t looking where he was going because something was wrong with his gear. He was looking down and didn’t see us until he was on top of us.

He continued to say “I’m so sorry, this is my fault” and waited to make sure we were all on our feet.

I was so concerned with my daughter, and we were all so shaken, that I forgot to get his name and contact information, and the idea of officially reporting the incident didn’t cross my mind in the moment.

I carried my daughter home, and we were all quiet, trying to digest the accident.

In retrospect, my first aid training should have kicked in, to put her in a trap squeeze in case she had a broken neck, and to have called an ambulance.

I was also surprised that even with the trail so busy, no one stopped to make sure we were OK. Since then, my daughter has lost two teeth (baby ones thankfully) but otherwise is healthy.

We have only been on the trail a few times, and always at non-peak hours.

This occurred before the new bylaw was passed for e-scooters and other battery-assisted vehicles to use bike lanes and trail systems, within the bounds of the vehicle speed limit.

I was in the process of purchasing an e-bike with a child’s seat to make it easier to ride and so we could enjoy cycling together more, as currently I have a standard trail bike with the extra seat.

Now, a system that I was so looking forward to using is even less safe.

The trails are absolutely not all ages and abilities and it’s disappointing that the city is putting so much emphasis, time and money in bike lanes when they make traffic a bottleneck, vehicle drivers are ­frustrated and cyclists are uncomfortable using them.

I would love to see a trail-monitoring system, ­ambassadors as Coppard mentioned, and police cycling on the trails.

A minimum of an enforced speed limit, to keep them safe, ensuring all can enjoy!

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