Family and friends looking for answers regarding Bow River pathway tragedy

CALGARY — On August 26th two cyclists collided head on around a blind corner on the Bow River pathway just south of 130th avenue SE. A 65 year old man died of his injuries a short time after the incident.

There is a poster at the scene with a small memorial below it looking for help. It reads: “On August 26th at approximately 3 p.m. there was an accident between two cyclists leading to the death of our friend Mark. Anyone who may have information regarding this collision or what happened after the accident. The family is still grieving and not knowing what happened and are in need of closure on this tragedy.”

Family friend Phil Levson made the poster on behalf of the family. Levson says he spoke with a Good Samaritan who was first on the scene and helped both cyclists before emergency workers arrived. But he’d still like to talk to other witnesses.

“We had heard from other neighbours that the scene was total chaos,” said Levson. “That cyclists were trying to stop other cyclists from moving through the scene, so a lot of unanswered questions.”

Paramedics and fire fighters attended the scene and helped the two cyclists.

“The strange thing is that the police were never called,” said Levson. “The police have no information that they can provide us. If someone dies on the Deerfoot they shut the Deerfoot down but here on a bike path someone dies and the police don’t know what happened.”

Levson says the other cyclist involved wasn’t transported to hospital and sadly his friend Mark (his family doesn’t want his last name used) wasn’t wearing a helmet and hurt his head badly.

“He was a terrific guy,” said Levson. “He was loved by so many people, he was an elder in the church, he did so much for other families, he was always reaching out to others, just an amazing individual and it’s just so tragic that we’ve lost him.”

Pathway etiquette

Susan Wall is an inspector with Calgary Community Standards. She says Calgary pathways are being used more now during the pandemic than any other time. But even with the increase in volume she hasn’t seen any increase in complaints or incidents reported.

 That said, Wall understands that many people don’t practice good  pathway etiquette.

“We have dogs that are not on leash or under control which can cause accidents, cyclists speeding on the pathways not abiding by the signs and pedestrians – if you’re wearing head phones you can’t hear anyone coming,” said Wall.

Calgary has the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America. The City maintains approximately 1000 km of regional pathways and 96 km of trails.

Wall recommends people realize how busy pathways are and work together to keep everyone safe.

“Be courteous, follow the rules, know what the etiquette is for pathway use,” said Wall.

Levson hopes that hearing of this tragedy will make people more aware of the potential dangers on Calgary’s pathway network.

“People have to adjust their behaviour as a cyclist and pedestrians have to be more aware of cyclists,” said Levson. “The cyclists have to be ringing their bell and they need to slow down and only pass when it’s safe to do so.”

Learn more about pathway safety here.

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