Bike charity rides worth the risk?

Since Terry Fox everyone has tried to mimic some form of his run to raise awareness or donations for some good cause.

Since Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic ocean and set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research every Tom, Dick and Harry has tried to mimic some form of his run to raise awareness or donations for some good cause.

Steve Fonyo ran for cancer. Theo Fleury walked to end child sexual abuse. Mothers walked from Prince Rupert to Prince George to focus attention on the 18 women who have gone missing along Highway 16 over the past four decades.

Fortunately no participants were killed along the way due to traffic mishaps.

But many other walks/runs/rides have lost participants, some within the first day or two. I  recall a lone participant who didn’t last 48 hours before he was wiped off the shoulder of the Trans-Canada highway.

This past weekend, 2600 bicyclists set out from Vancouver for Seattle on a two-day Ride to Conquer Cancer. Just hours before the ride ended, a 16-year-old biker from Victoria was killed “ when he tried to pass a group of fellow cyclists, lost control and collided with an oncoming vehicle,” reports The Province.

These unfortunate accidents happen so often whenever I hear of another fund- or awareness- raising group setting out to travel along a highway on foot, bike, or motorcycle, a knot gathers in my stomach. I wonder who among them will sacrifice his life for this worthy cause?

Don’t they have safety rules in place beyond a pilot car front and back? What safety measures have they taken beyond wearing a helmet and watching a 30 minute safety video before starting out?

At a minimum, every participant needs to be covered by life insurance and  a will, like an armed forces recruit.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer tried to stick to side roads, those less travelled by vehicles, but as with any congested  traffic situation, riding among a bunch of bicycles is a tricky business. Each rider is at the mercy of the experience, split second choices, and riding skills of the others. Plenty can happen in a flash even when riding alone, as I can attest.

Several weeks ago biking home one evening I was making the gradual left turn from Crescent Street up Haaland lAvenue when my sneaker toe snagged the front wheel fender. The front wheel whipped crossways , braking, and in a wink I was sprawled face down on the pavement, my left foot immobilized under the back wheel by the weight of my upper body.

The more I tried to lift myself pushing down on the handlebars, the more weight I applied to the back wheel pinning my foot.

The site of my upset was both good and bad. Good because at that hour many cars – possible help – drove by toward town. Bad because witnesses of my predicament might have included neighbours.

Fortunately for me, Thornhill people tend to be helpful, unlike some urban dwellers who ignore old ladies spilled from their wheelchairs by purse-snatchers.

Soon a van parked in front of my bike. A passenger named Claude lifted my bike, freeing my foot; the driver heaved me upright and hung on to me until I assured him I was able to walk. He noted the chain had fallen off my bike. He made me promise to walk home, not ride.

If my tumble had happened in heavy vehicular traffic or amidst a clump of bikers, who knows how injured I or nearby bikers might have been. As it was, my pride hurt more than my skinned knee.

I limped a distance before  threading the greasy chain back on to the gears, then biked to my gate. On future bike rides, I’ll not wear clunky sneakers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

Mother grizzly bear with two cubs spotted on Gruchy’s Beach trail near Terrace

Conservation officers also warning public to stay away from Grizzlies on lower Kitimat River

Village of Gingolx upgrading trails, studying campground improvements

Initiative is one of 39 trail and recreation projects to receive provincial funding

Terrace first responders honour late colleague with large procession

Dozens of emergency vehicles drove through Terrace July 7

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read