Anger rises after high-profile Ontario cyclist struck and killed by driver
A well-known Ontario cyclist and manager of the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls was killed while cycling in the tourist destination on Saturday morning, and the tragedy has triggered an outpouring of support and an important discussion about cycling safety and a lack of adequate infrastructure on busy Niagara Falls roads.
The Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) has stated that officers of the 2 District serving Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake responded to reports of a serious motor vehicle collision on the Niagara Parkway between Victoria Avenue and Whirlpool Road, in the City of Niagara Falls at 11:20 a.m. Saturday.
Police state that an adult male, later identified as Keith Simmonds, manager or "Chief Howler" at popular indoor water park and resort Great Wolf Lodge, was "cycling north on the Niagara Parkway approximately 200 meters north of Victoria Avenue when a collision with a motor vehicle occurred."
"As a result of the collision, the cyclist was pronounced deceased at the scene."
"Detectives assigned to the NRPS Collision Reconstruction Unit have assumed carriage of the investigation. They are being assisted by the NRPS Forensic Services Unit and the Niagara Parks Police Service."
Simmonds was well-known in Niagara Falls, and described as a passionate leader, philanthropist, and involved member of the community. His loss has been met with an outpouring of support from the city, including local mayor Jim Diodati.
Heartbroken to learn of the tragic accident this morning in which Keith Simmonds lost his life. Condolences to his family, friends & the @GreatWolfLodge wolf pack. RIP, Mercer. You will be missed.— Jim Diodati (@jimdiodati) September 24, 2022
A statement was issued by Simmonds' employers, The Jim Pattison Group, Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Great Wolf Lodge of Niagara Falls, highlighting that "Everyone who knew Keith recognized his love of family, cycling and philanthropy. He was a loyal friend and a compassionate giver, seen in both his personal life and professional endeavours."
Infrastructure to prevent (entirely preventable) deaths like this not only exists, but it's relatively cheap to install and maintain.
Aside from the expected anger, Twitter users have responded to the incident with a discussion about the types of measures that could make stretches of road like the Niagara Parkway more hospitable to cyclists.
In Europe, they have cycling lanes/paths along country roads.— W. K. Lis (@wklis) September 26, 2022
And separated from the roadway. pic.twitter.com/4CpSJwcQV7
Citing examples elsewhere around the world, Twitter users make a great argument for the installation of separated cycle tracks to prevent the danger of forcing cars and bikes to share a right of way.
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