Deaths of 2 cyclists this month show culture change needed, lawyer says
A cycling advocate in Saint John says people should have the option of cycling safely when they can’t afford a car, but still need to get to work or find a job.
Reacting to the deaths of two cyclists in recent weeks in Saint John and Moncton, Nick Cameron said the car culture must change in order to prevent fatal collisions on New Brunswick roads.
He said people needed to stop thinking that a few cyclists dying in crashes were normal.
« As a community, we should stand up for these people, not discourage them or get on our nerves because it makes us feel uncomfortable on the road, » he said. Saint John Information Morning.
« It’s heartbreaking. »
On October 13, Hunter Seguin, 21, of Timmins, Ont. was killed in a collision with a delivery truck on the 400 block of Westmorland Road in Saint John.
Exactly one week later, a 60-year-old cyclist was killed in an accident involving a truck on Connaught Avenue in Moncton.
Saint John police say Seguin’s death is under investigation and RCMP are investigating the death of the 60-year-old.
Cameron said it’s easy to blame the driver or the rider, or even to think fatalities are going to happen, but none of that is helpful or enough to change the culture.
« We’re frustrated. We’re trying to find answers to that. And it’s easy to say, ‘Well, we need more enforcement, or the road design is bad, or I bet they weren’t wearing a helmet or I bet the driver was looking at his phone, » he said.
« At the macro level, this is all true. »
Cameron said police investigations take a long time, which is a barrier to seeing real change in the wake of cycling deaths.
He said the roads and streets are not designed for active and safe transportation, such as walking or cycling, and drivers seem to ignore simple strategies for sharing the road.
Cameron said it would help if riders had more respect for bikes and learned how to pass bikes safely. The key, he says, is to slow down. It is also good for cyclists to also remember the rules of the road.
The Velo NB organization has a manual available online, he said.
Cameron said he was encouraged by the addition of protected bike lanes on select streets in Saint John such as University Avenue and Main Street, and is pleased to hear of the speed limit reductions coming to a number of city streets.
« But like workplace safety, it has to be an ongoing effort, » he said.
“Every time something like this happens, I think as a community we have to assess how it happened… Every collision is preventable.”