New Kelowna bike lane passes ghost bike for cyclist killed on road - InfoNews

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New Kelowna bike lane passes ghost bike for cyclist killed on road

There is a new bike lane in place on Bernard Avenue where cyclist Patricia Keenan hit an open car door in 2015 and later died.
July 29, 2019 - 11:15 AM

KELOWNA - Patricia Keenan was cycling between traffic and parked cars on Bernard Avenue when a car door opened in front of her, triggering a crash that led to her death on July 14, 2015.

A month later, the Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition chained a white “ghost” bike to a pole at the spot where she died. It’s still there today along with a laminated message warning motorists to look before opening their doors.

That fatality and that ghost bike probably didn’t influence the city in the recent completion of the Bernard Avenue bike path, between Ethel and Richter streets, but Darren Schlamp, the current president of the cycling coalition said they're a good reminder of cycling safety.

“Does an individual ghost bike drive a specific improvement? No,” he told iNFOnews.ca. “Do they remind us that our streets need to be safer? Hopefully. That’s really what they’re out there for. Just to remind us that we’re all there just trying to get to where we need to go and we’re all trying to get there safely.”

Landon Bradshaw is a past president of the coalition and the man who marks cycling fatalities by placing ghost bikes at crash sites.

There are two other ghost bike sites around Kelowna, down from three due to a recent theft.

One is near Richter and Doyle where the motorist claims that last summer, a cyclist swerved in front of the vehicle. Another is on Springfield near Belgo where the cyclist, apparently, ran the stop sign in 2015. The third was near Banks and Baron after a commercial vehicle turned in front of a cyclist in 2016. That was recently stolen.

The message on Patricia Keenan bike reads, in part: “This bike is here to help remind all of us that we need to pay attention to our surroundings and shoulder check before opening our door. This type of accident is preventable and happens all too often…”

The city is putting significant resources into improving bike safety, including separated bike lanes along Ethel that will stretch almost to Mission Creek in the coming years. Sutherland is also getting protected bike lanes this year.

This Bernard Avenue ghost bike serves to remind motorists to check before opening their car doors.
This Bernard Avenue ghost bike serves to remind motorists to check before opening their car doors.

The message on the ghost bike.
The message on the ghost bike.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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