Five cyclists hospitalized after collision with truck on Sherwood Park Freeway
RCMP are investigating a collision involving five cyclists on the Sherwood Park Freeway near Anthony Henday Drive Saturday morning.
Emergency crews were called to the scene near the exit ramp to the Henday at 9:50 a.m.
RCMP said approximately 15 cyclists were riding east on the freeway, in the middle of three lanes near the Henday off ramp, when a truck struck the group from behind.
Of the five people injured, two were taken to hospital in serious condition, while the other injuries are considered non-life-threatening.
“It sounds like there’s a possible spinal injury on one. Other ones have varying degrees of road rash to broken bones,” Cpl. James Stanviloff with Strathcona County RCMP said.
Victoria Bleeks was travelling westbound on Sherwood Park Freeway and was one of the first to witness the accident scene.
“Traffic started slowing down on the eastbound lanes to my left,” Bleeks said. “[I noticed] that there were multiple cyclists sprawled across the highway. It didn’t look like there were any first responders on scene and maybe one bystander, so I pulled over and called 911.
“It was very difficult to see so many people injured. One had severe injuries and there were several more that were mostly just in shock.”
Police said the driver of the white Dodge pickup remained at the scene. Witnesses describe her as a distraught woman in her mid-30s.
“She looked like she was quite distressed,” Bleeks said. “I witnessed her on the phone and quite upset.
Mounties said the collision was not intentional.
The cyclists are part of a club ride organized by local bike shop Cycle-logic. Employees said there is a ride every Saturday from Edmonton to Strathcona County and Beaumont and said the cyclists have experience riding on the highway.
However, RCMP said there were some concerns with how the group was riding.
“The cyclists were travelling two abreast in the pack. The Traffic Safety Act does say you have to ride single file on a highway,” Cpl. Stanviloff said.
RCMP said the investigation is still in its preliminary stages but alcohol has been ruled out as a factor.
“The driver remained on scene and is being co-operative,” Cpl. Stanviloff said.
He said driver inattention and speed are being considered as possible factors in the crash.
“It’s an 80-kilometre-an-hour stretch of highway, that’s the posted speed limit,” Cpl. Stanviloff said. “That’s definitely a factor to the contributing injuries, I don’t think excessive speed played into this collision but it is a high-speed collision.”
There’s no word at this point whether any charges will be laid, but police said it is important for motorists to be aware of cyclists.
“We do have to give way to cyclists [on the road],” Cpl. Stanviloff added. “Cyclists have to ride single file and they have to be in the right hand lane. They are allowed to be on the road and motorists do need to yield to them and everybody needs to be aware of each other on the road.”
Sherwood Park Freeway was closed between 17 Street and Anthony Henday Drive for several hours while police investigated.
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