Cyclist's death highlights danger on PembinaStruck by car en route to Blue Bombers game
By: Mary Agnes Welch
A cyclist has died after being hit by a car on his way to Monday's Winnipeg Blue Bombers exhibition game.
An avid Bomber fan and longtime season ticket-holder, Dick Stevenson, 69, suffered head injuries when he was hit by a car on Pembina Highway near Bishop Grandin Boulevard at about 5:30 p.m.
He was wearing a helmet, a family friend said. He died Tuesday morning.
Stevenson was a member of a successful real estate and development family, which sold its firm, S. S. Stevenson & Company Limited, to the Chipmans in 1987. The company is now the Stevenson Group, the Chipman family's umbrella firm that includes Nova-Con construction, Longboat property development and Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate brokers.
It's not clear whether charges will be laid in the crash. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Last spring, during the initial traffic mayhem that surrounded the opening of the new stadium at the University of Manitoba, many opted to bike to games as the quickest and most reliable way to go. But that renewed long-standing worries about cycling safety on one of Winnipeg's busiest roads.
Cycling advocates locally and internationally argue protected lanes are the safest for cyclists and motorists alike and do the most to encourage people to bike.
The city's proposed bike network includes protected cycle tracks along Pembina, but so far only a short stretch exists -- a new protected track between Chevrier Boulevard and Plaza Drive that opened last summer. Another short stretch south of University Crescent is under construction.
The stretch of Pembina where Stevenson was hit has no cycling infrastructure, and Bike Winnipeg's Mark Cohoe said it can be particularly hairy. It is where the on-off ramps from Bishop Grandin merge with Pembina and where cars are changing lanes at high speed.
Winnipeg's cycling map includes a circle around the area, advising caution.
Cohoe said the first concern should be for Stevenson's family and friends, but cycling deaths happen too often on Winnipeg streets.
"Do we find this acceptable or do we need to start designing things to prevent these tragedies from happening?" asked Cohoe.
Officials with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers declined to comment directly Wednesday evening, instead issuing a statement.
"The thoughts and prayers of our entire organization are with Mr. Stevenson's family as they mourn this tremendous loss," said the statement.
In a typical year, one or two cyclists are killed on Winnipeg streets.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2014 A4