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Passing car strikes four cyclists participating in charity ride around Lake Ontario

Riders participating in 1,100-km charity ride for pancreas cancer research around Lake Ontario injured on side of Kingston road.

7 Days in May charity ride
7 Days in May charity ride
Photo: 7 Days in May charity ride

A group of cyclists riding around Lake Ontario for pancreatic cancer research were struck by a car on Sunday near Kingston, Ont. Riders taking part in the 7 Days in May charity ride had stopped on the shoulder of Bath Road near Jim Snow Road to tend to a fellow participant who had hit a pothole, fell and hit his head. Traffic had been briefly stopped as riders tended to their fallen companion. When traffic began passing again, a driver passed a van on the right and struck four riders who were standing on the shoulder. One of the riders is now in critical condition while another has several broken bones.

The charity ride had 55 participants who were riding in groups of five or six as they approached Kingston. They were 30-km from their day’s destination on the second day of their 1,100-km ride around Lake Ontario. They had set out from Missisuaga on Saturday and had spent a night before in Cobourg.

Gord Townley, founder of the 7 Days in May charity ride, told the Ottawa Citizen a rider had struck a pothole and was sent to the tarmac hitting his head in the process as his group approached Kingston. Four companions stopped to aid the fallen rider including a former fire captain who stopped traffic to allow the rider to be tended to.

“He knew what to do, our rider was in good hands,” said Townley. A rider from a second passing group decided to stop with the injured cyclist as the others in that group continued. A support van with the ride and 911 had been called. After the road was cleared of the fallen rider, they allowed traffic to begin passing again.

“A van came up and slowed down and moved a little bit to the left to give the riders clearance and, as best as I can understand, a car was coming up at speed behind this van, thought they could pass on the shoulder and pulled around to the right of the van and struck four of the riders,” he Townley said.

Amoung those hit were Townley’s 30-year-old daughter who suffered several broken bones, including broken ribs, and a punctured lung. The man who stopped from the second group was struck and was in critical condition while two others were also injured. As of Monday, the organizer had not received word on the state of the rider in critical condition.

“I rolled up, I know them all well,” Townley said. “I saw the critically injured cyclist lying on the ground, the fire captain had moved over to tend to him, and resuscitate and care for him. As I walked towards him, my daughter called out to me. Her boyfriend was comforting her, he was one of the ones who was not hit, fortunately.”

After striking the riders, the car hit the guardrail and rolled into a ditch. The driver was also injured.

“It’s frightening. This was not a cycling accident. It was a series of cyclists who had pulled over to the side of the road. They weren’t riding, this was just a driver who wasn’t patient who caused incredible damage without realizing what they were doing, I guess,” Townley told the Ottawa Citizen.

“Why the gentleman decided to pass on right, we don’t know. The police are investigating.”

The ride was scheduled to continue on Tuesday. It was the seventh edition of the 7 Days in May ride.