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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
COVID-19 exposure notice shuts down Hazelton school

Closure to last for one week and school is to be sanitized

MacCarthy GM staff and customers raised $700 for Pink Shirt Day. (Submitted Photo/Mudit Mehta)
Terrace dealership raises hundreds of dollars for Pink Shirt Day

MacCarthy GM staff and customers raised $700 for anti-bullying initiatives

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read