A Halifax woman says the only thing she remembers seeing after being struck by a vehicle on her bicycle were the children in the back seat of the car that drove away and left her.
“These kids in the back are just looking at me really wide-eyed, like they looked pretty shocked,” Jodie Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald was cycling in the Devonshire neighbourhood of Halifax’s north end when she says she signaled to turn left and was immediately struck from behind.
“Just out of nowhere I felt a really heavy impact, I guess on my behind,” she said. “I instantly felt the pain really bad in my tailbone and butt area.
“I think I lost my balance and skidded to the ground.”
She says the driver sped away before stopping to help or see if she was okay.
The response of those nearby, however, was immediate. A driver who witnessed the incident and also happened to be a first responder came to her aid, as well as Jillian Banfield, who lives nearby, heard the collision and called 911.
“She was saying she [Fitzgerald] was in a lot of pain. I heard her say something like she was hoping this wasn’t going to screw up her life,” Banfield said.
“I could just identify with that so strongly, because I know I cycle everyday and if I get hit I’m terrified about what that means for me. So I was worried about her, too.”
Luckily, Fitzgerald walked out of the hospital without any serious physical injuries.
However, she says her mental state has been shaken, especially because the driver didn’t remain on the scene.
“Motorists, they have this powerful machine they’re driving. They need to respect that, take ownership of that because it can be really dangerous,” she said.
The head of Trauma Nova Scotia says cycling collisions can come with serious consequences like major traumas — especially in the youth population.
“In the pediatric population, the amount of major trauma in kids — so less than 16 years [old] — is seven times as much as any other sport-related activity and that’s major trauma,” said Dr. Robert Green.
“We thought hockey would be the dominant trauma we see, but nope, it’s cycling.”
WATCH: (July 29, 2019) No bike lanes added to newly refurbished section of Halifax’s Quinpool Road
A multi-million-dollar investment by all three levels of government was announced this July to increase cycling and pedestrian pathways in the municipality and help make sustainable transportation options safer.
“The silver lining here is drawing more attention to the need for better infrastructure and calling out really bad driving behaviour when we see it, because it’s bad enough to hit somebody, but to drive away after you do it — I don’t know what that takes in a person to do that,” Banfield said.
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