Mike Roy is about as experienced of a cyclist as you’ll find in the Greater Moncton area, but even he’s afraid to ride on Connaught Avenue.
On Wednesday, a 60-year-old man riding an electric bicycle was killed nearby when he collided with a truck at the intersection of Connaught Avenue and High Street.
The driver of the truck was not injured and police have released few other details about the investigation.
Roy said both motorists and cyclists have a role in avoiding tragedies.
I have been struck by motor vehicles twice in my life riding bicycles, most recently in 2020, and I’ve been suffering the ongoing effects of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of that injury, or that accident,” he said.
Velo N.B., an advocacy group that promotes safe cycling legislation in the province, released a statement Saturday expressing its condolences to the families and friends of the cyclist killed in Moncton and a cyclist killed in Saint John on Oct. 13.
“These are not isolated incidents, accidents and fatalities involving cyclists have been all to frequent on our New Brunswick roads,” read the statement. “This does not even take into account the near misses that cyclists are subject to while trying to enjoy our roadways they are entitled to use. Whether it’s print or social media, the lack of understanding of laws governing our roads by the general public is sadly lacking. Improvements are needed both in driver education programs for new drivers and ongoing public education.”
Like Roy, the president of Velo N.B. said he’s had a few close calls.
“People are driving faster, more aggressive,” said Marc Gaudet. “There’s almost a daily ‘I own the road’ mentality with certain motorists. On the flip side, there are some great motorists that are very cognizant that a bike is allowed on the road and to share the road, and you can see that when they overtake you.”
Gaudet thinks it’s crucial for motorists and cyclists to abide by the laws of the road.
“When Ellen’s Law was passed six years ago, there was initially an educational campaign on how to pass a cyclist with the one-metre law. That lost its momentum quickly. About a year-and-a-half in, we started to see less and less, and within a six month period, it stopped. We have to continue educating,” said Gaudet.
City of Moncton council unanimously approved an Active Transportation Plan in June and is currently working on implementing both short and long-term improvements to its cycling network.
“The City of Moncton takes cycling safety very seriously and we are working towards improving our network as well as developing plans for increased education for both cyclists and motor vehicle operators,” said Isabelle LeBlanc, a spokesperson for the city.
LeBlanc said it will take a sustained and significant capital investment to accomplish the plan’s cycling network which includes physically separated facilities on several streets.
“Adding these bike facilities, in many cases, will require land acquisition, and the relocation of several infrastructure such as concrete curbs, utility poles [and] fire hydrants,” said LeBlanc. “The City of Moncton is committed to take on this challenging endeavour, which will include major reconfiguration of certain roadways.”