An Edmonton woman is recovering from a bike crash on a River valley trail, but she wasn’t the one riding the bike. Now, she’s calling on speeding cyclists to slow down, and follow simple trail etiquette.
July 2nd, Helen Shea was walking her dog on a River Valley path when she was hit by a cyclist.
“It happened so fast,” says Shea. “I was on the concrete and when somebody said are you ok. I realized the bike was across my abdomen.”
Shea says she didn’t hear a bell or any kind of warning before she was hit.
“All I know is I heard he was going extremely fast.”
Shea says she was on the right side of the path’s yellow line, and turned around slightly to look behind her just before she was struck.
“I knew my wrist was broken because it looked like a little pyramid when they got me up,” she says.
She suffered serious injuries; a broken wrist and femur. Her abdomen was bruised because the bike landed on top of her.
It was a busy afternoon, and several people rushed to help her. They called an ambulance. Shea says the cyclist was complaining of a sore shoulder, but paramedics checked him on the path and cleared him to go home.
“The only thing I heard him say was something to the effect why did you move or what did you move for.”
Shea was taken to the hospital, where she had to have surgery. She now has three screws in her femur and a plate and pins in her wrist. After spending 17 days in hospital, she’s now using a walker to get around. She’s already spent seven weeks recovering.
For Shea and her husband John, summers in Edmonton are usually very busy. They like to keep active, and enjoy attending the local festivals and other events.
“This is why we’ve always had a good experience in the river valley, cyclists for the most part are very respectful of watching their surroundings and they ring their bell, or say on your right, or passing on left.”
“If they’re passing, they have to ride up behind, ring their bell and alert the person they’re passing that they’re going around them,” explains Ramsey Cox, a local Park Ranger.
City bylaw 2202 states all cyclists must have a bell, and yield to slower traffic. Failing to do so could result in a $250 fine. Officers admit fining people for this type of violation is rare, and while there’s no posted speed limit, Cox says simply be courteous.
“The general rule is for faster moving vehicles or individuals would yield to slower moving people. So cyclists would yield to joggers, joggers would yield to walkers.”
“It is a shared path,” adds Shea, “and until that changes I think if you want to be going at a tremendous speed then be where the mountain bikes, trails and hills are.”
While Shea is still recovering from substantial injuries, she realizes it could have been worse, and that’s why she’s speaking out.
“If that would have been a child I think the outcome could have been much worse.”
With files from Kendra Slugoski