Cyclist says collision with truck was road rage, not accident

Sounder News

Wednesday, April 21 2021

A cyclist on Gabriola is angry with being run off the road, and frustrated with there being no real punishment for those responsible.

Simon Stiles spoke to the Sounder about the incident which took place on Tuesday, April 13, on North Road, at the west end of the Tunnel.

Stiles said he was commuting to work as he usually does, on a bicycle, pulling a bike trailer with his dog onboard.

“Pedalling down the road, I looked behind me, and there’s a truck within 12 inches from the trailer.

“I waved at him to pass. He came along beside me.”

Stiles said the driver, instead of passing and continuing on, slowed to pace Stiles and got closer to Stiles’ bike - so close, that the rear view mirror of the truck was in front of Stiles’ face.

He said the truck was a white Ford F-350.

Stiles said the truck kept nudging towards him, until it drove him off the road.

“Instead of sliding off the road, the bike slid out. I slid inwards [back on to the road].

“Luckily I was far enough back of him that when I fell on the road I didn’t hit him.”

Stiles said that as he got up, he saw the truck had pulled over, and two men - Stiles described them as white and in their 60s - got out of the truck and walked back to him, yelling and asking why he was on the road and why didn’t he get out of the way.

Stiles said one of the men said “he should just kick my head in. Then they got into their truck and left.”

Other people started driving up at this point. Stiles said someone called 911, and that’s when the RCMP and other emergency services showed up.

“When the police showed up, I gave a statement. I rode in the ambulance to the clinic, I got checked out by the doc. Luckily I didn’t break any bones or get a concussion.”

He said by the time he got to work, the RCMP called him, and said the men had turned themselves in to the RCMP detachment.

“They gave them a ticket, that was it.”

Stiles said he has been told by RCMP that it would be impossible to prove that the men had done anything wrong.

“Despite these guys running me off and issuing death threats after.”

He’s not sure there is any way to have the men prosecuted, unless he goes through a civil court, but he doesn’t have the finances to do that.

“I was raging angry when the cop told me this.”

Cpl. Jordan Mullen, Detachment Commander for Gabriola RCMP confirmed that RCMP, Gabriola Fire and BC Emergency Health Services responded “to a cyclist who had been struck by a passing motorist. 

“The driver of the vehicle has since been charged under the motor vehicle act. The cyclist was treated for their injuries at the Gabriola Medical Clinic released.”

Cpl. Mullen confirmed the driver has been fined.

“They have the right to dispute it if they want to. I don’t know what, if any, demerits are associated with the fine. Typically they are, but that’s up to the Motor Vehicle Branch.”

Stiles said “the dog was fine, the trailer didn’t fall over. The bike made an anchor, the trailer didn’t fall over. I took a spill and my dog was fine.”

Stiles said this is not his first time dealing with road rage towards him as a cyclist, though it is the first time here on Gabriola.

“I used to cycle in Ottawa a lot, cycled for 10 years, I’ve dealt with a lot of road rage before.”

Having this happen on Gabriola, in a rural area, “it’s a lot scarier. I’m scared to get on a bike again. In the city, I felt anonymous. 

“These guys are here. I’m really hesitant to get back out on my bike. They know exactly who I am now, and they could just hit me a bit faster next time.

“I don’t know what story they told the cops. I can tell you clearly, I’ve been a cyclist for a long time, I know how to bike, I’ve been biking up and down to work for a few years now.

“I don’t want someone to die in a situation like this.”

Cpl. Mullen said that “a bicycle is considered a vehicle while on the roadway, so you need to follow all the rules of the road. That means stopping at stop signs and signalling for turns. 

“Motorists are reminded of this as well and that with the lack of shoulders in some areas, that you should only pass a cyclist when it is safe to do so and to yield to oncoming traffic.”

Under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, a person operating a bicycle on a roadway - such as North Road - has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle. 

The MVA also states, “a driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety,” as well as, “A driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the amount and nature of traffic on and the condition of the highway.”

At press time, the Sounder has been unable to identify the driver or passenger in order to obtain their versions of events.