One woman’s close call is now a cautionary tale for cyclists and pedestrians traveling along the Thames Valley Pathway (TVP).
Lynne Milnes, 78, was taken to the emergency room on Monday after being struck by a cyclist while walking in Gibbons Park at around 4 p.m. She went home 11 hours later with nine stitches in her face.
“It was, I could say, a very big surprise,” said Milnes. “And I’ve never experienced anything quite like that, so I hit the ground really hard.”
Milnes often walks through the area after paying a visit to her husband who lives nearby in long-term care.
During her walk on Monday, a pedestrian suddenly stopped in front of her to look at their phone. Milnes veered to the left to go around, checking over her shoulder as she did so, she said. Unfortunately, the cyclist behind her had veered in the same direction and collided into Milnes at full speed.
Milnes didn’t hear the cyclist approaching.
“I think what happened is both of us moved to try to avoid something and we both moved the wrong way,” said Milnes.
Milnes, who walks with the aid of a cane, was caught on her left shoulder and landed on her face. The impact created a large cut above her left eye.
“There was a ton of blood,” she said.
Pedestrians and cyclists can both do their part
Milnes credits the cyclist and surrounding pedestrians for showing concern and assisting her until paramedics arrived on the scene. But, as she recovers from the experience, she is now urging all cyclists on the TVP to make their presence known as they approach pedestrians — especially to those with mobility issues.
“My suspicion is the cyclist could have slowed down when he saw a person walking with a cane,” she said. “If he had slowed down perhaps a bit and alerted me with a bell, just something to, you know, let me know that he was on his way.”
Pedestrians should do their part by being aware of their surroundings, and step off the path to use their cell phones, Milnes added.
Cyclists are required by provincial law to have a bell or horn on their bikes, said Molly Miksa, executive director of London Cycle Link. She’s reminding cyclists that the Thames Valley Parkway is a shared space, and not the place to ride at high speeds.
“I definitely recommend a bicycle bell which is very recognizable, and to use it and to be ready to use it at any point when you see someone in front of you,” said Miksa. “When you see elderly people, children and geese, be prepared to slow down at any point.”
Milnes wonders if the city would benefit from having a separate path for bikes-only to avoid future incidents from taking place.
While rattled, she hasn’t been deterred from returning to Gibbons Park. She’ll continue to take her walks, albeit with more caution, she said.
“I think there could be more emphasis on education for both cyclists and pedestrians who wander all over the place, too. It’s not just cyclists that have to think about what they’re doing,” Milnes said. “It’s a beautiful park and I want everybody to enjoy it as much as I always have.”
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