Thursday, June 8, 2023
June 8, 2023

Cyclist recovering after collision with van in Ganges

A 23-year-old Salt Spring cyclist is recovering from a collision with a vehicle last Wednesday, where riding cautiously and wearing a helmet likely saved his life.
Kio Grooms was riding his electric bike to meet his mother in Ganges when witnesses saw a vehicle cross in front of him as he was reaching the bottom of Ganges hill.
Robin Jenkinson was about 100 metres behind when the crash occurred. She said she saw a blue van turn into the driveway that accesses some residences across from Seaview, although didn’t see where the vehicle originated from.
“Basically, the man turned into the driveway, just as Kio came right there and he kind of got T-boned by that. It was so shocking. I pulled over right away and called 911 and then went down to help.”
Salt Spring RCMP say the van driver has been cooperative with police, and thanked community members for assisting on the scene.
When Grooms didn’t show up by 3 p.m. for their planned 2:45 meeting time, parent Jennifer Middleton said she had a bad feeling.
“I drove to go looking for him . . . and then I saw all the first-responder vehicles and the backed-up traffic. Because I couldn’t drive there I pulled over and started walking over there and asked a spectator, ‘Do you know what happened? Was it a young man on a bike?’ And they said ‘yeah, a young man and a bike.’”
Salt Spring Fire Rescue Capt. Warren Nuyens gave her a ride to the hospital as it was already known that Grooms would be transferred to Victoria from Lady Minto Hospital by air ambulance.
Middleton said there was some concern because while her son was on the ground it appeared he may have been having a seizure. But testing indicated that was not the case. He also suffered no broken bones.
“The doctors said all the tests came back really good, and that it’s just soft-tissue damage and a concussion at this point,” she told the Driftwood on Saturday.
Grooms was still “very sore” she said, but in good spirits.
His bike helmet was seriously damaged.
“I am absolutely sure that if it wasn’t for that helmet it would be a very different story.”
She said Grooms is also aware of the need to slow down when coming into Ganges, so was not travelling at a high speed.
Middleton said she is grateful to all who assisted on scene, and for community support and expressions of caring that resulted. She particularly appreciated the response to an update she provided on the Salt Spring road and ferry report Facebook page.
“I felt really, really touched and moved. I felt very cradled, very cared for. It was a great stress reliever for me to get to see all that care. And then I passed it on to Kio, and that really meant something to him.”
Middleton said that the incident has not deterred her son from wanting to ride his bike again, which Jenkinson, as facilitator for the Cycling Salt Spring group in Island Pathways, finds heartening. Their group is also welcoming Grooms to an upcoming meeting.
“If too many people are scared away from cycling, we will never make safe cycling islands, you know, because the more cyclists on the road, the more aware people are of them,” she said.
She recommends cyclists make themselves as visible as possible with bright clothing and flashing lights on their bikes, and that drivers make extra efforts to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians.
Salt Spring has only a few hundred of metres of designated bike lanes, she notes, so cyclists are entitled to travel on the main part of the road.
“The roads are designed to be shared by cyclists and walkers and cars within the white lines,” she said. “People keep saying, ‘Those cyclists didn’t stay on their side of the white edge line, the shoulder line.’ Well, that’s a shoulder line, that’s not a bike path. That’s the edge of the road. And so the cyclists have a right to be on the road just like the cars. So if people can realize the roads are 99 per cent shared transportation corridors, they need to be aware that they are sharing them with cyclists and walkers and drive appropriately and slowly enough.”
Efforts to include Salt Spring in the Salish Sea Trail Network to create a cycling corridor on southern Vancouver Island have been underway for several years. A current Action Network online petition addresses the issue and seeks more signatories.


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