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Press Release: GVCC saddened by death of cyclist, calls for better crash investigation, more investment in bike lanes

Sadly on Friday a woman on a bike lost her life at the corner of Gorge Rd and Harriet Rd on the Victoria and Saanich border. We are saddened by this loss and have put out the following statement about the tragedy:

The GVCC is extremely saddened to learn of the death of a woman riding her bike at the intersection of Gorge Rd and Harriet Rd, on the border of Victoria and Saanich. We believe that we can have a Vision Zero region where nobody dies or is seriously injured on our roads, but much more work needs to be done to get there.

“While Victoria is a safe place to ride, Friday’s tragedy reminds us we have not finished yet,”   said Corey Burger, GVCC Policy & Infrastructure Chair. “On both Gorge Rd. and Government St., where cyclist Eileen Evans was killed in 2016, the City has a plan to build protected bike lanes to keep people on bikes safe. But neither will happen unless Council approves funding in 2021 and beyond.”

Much more needs to be done when someone on a bike is killed. International best practices for such a tragedy is a full investigation that includes experts from civil engineering, urban design, BC Coroners Service, and traffic safety officers. The only way we will achieve Vision Zero is by following this best practice here in the region and developing, not only a comprehensive picture of crashes, but also recommendations to ensure the tragedies like this one never happen again.

In 2016, Eileen Evans, a 73 year-old long-time cyclist, was killed at the intersection of Government St. and Fisgard St. when a truck driver hit her while turning right. The Coroner’s Report ruled the death an “accident”, while failing to note that the design of the bike lane and its lack of physical protection between vehicles and bikes contributed to her death.  

While we do not have any details on the recent crash, we urge that this tragic death be recognized as a preventable tragedy. We urge municipalities, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and BC Coroners Service to move quickly to develop improved crash investigations protocols that include road design and increased investment in protected bike lanes.