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How to drive with cyclists at your bumper

Survivor of painful crash advises distancing on the roads

2 min read
Cyclists on Vernon Street in Halifax.
caption This stretch of Vernon Street sees more than 3,500 vehicles per day, according to municipal data.
Taryn Grant

Editor's Note

This story contains a graphic photo, and strong language.

Many cyclists will soon switch gears from cars to bicycles with spring upon us, but some riders say infrastructure and driver culture leaves them vulnerable to danger.

Conner Keay, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at Dalhousie University, is among the wary cyclists. He’s ridden bikes for as long as he can remember but told The Signal he was sidelined, his bike bent and broken, following a collision last summer.

Keay said he was riding at Spring Garden and Robie, a route he had cycled countless times, when the driver ahead stopped suddenly to do a u-turn. Keay’s bike couldn’t stop in time and he struck the rear bumper.

Halifax cyclist Conner Keay
caption Cyclist Conner Keay says his face smashed through the rear window of a car during a crash in downtown Halifax in July 2022. He shared his story with the Signal to warn cyclists to ride with caution.
Eamon Irving/Connor Keay (submitted)

“My face went through his back window,” said Keay. “I was in his backseat. I was like ‘shit.’ I had to crawl out of the passenger rear door to get out.”

Keay said he had glass shards inside his nose and a cut across his forehead. He ended up with 21 stitches.

Keay’s experience is not unique. Between 2018 and 2022, 321 Nova Scotian cyclists ended up in hospitals due to automobile-related collisions, an average of 64 per year according to the province’s Road Safety Dashboard.

While some cyclists do take precautions to protect themselves from cars, a helmet and tight brakes can only do so much.

 

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