A collision between an electric bicycle and a pick-up truck with a camper brought a medical helicopter to a Salt Spring Island farm on Saturday, as emergency officials warned travellers to exercise caution on island roads.
According to Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mitchell Sherrin, the crash closed Cusheon Lake Road for at least an hour as fire, police and local ground ambulance crews responded near the intersection with Lord Mike’s Road at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 9.
Sherrin said the air ambulance landed at Cusheon Lake Farm to transport the patient, who was not wearing a helmet and suffered a “significant” head injury, warranting a higher level of care right away.
“We wanted to get definitive medical treatment for the patient as soon as possible,” said Sherrin. “The air ambulance carries critical care paramedics, who have the highest level of training and were able to [further] treat and transport the patient immediately.”
Sherrin said emergency responders were grateful to passersby for rendering assistance, and expressed concern and empathy for those who might have found the crash distressing.
“It’s upsetting when someone is badly hurt,” said Sherrin. “There were a lot of bystanders, and they were very helpful.”
Salt Spring RCMP Sgt. Clive Seabrook said the cyclist’s injuries were “serious but not life threatening.”
It was not clear whether speed was a factor in the crash, but Sherrin said it was regardless a “good reminder” to always wear a helmet — and that when riders and drivers encounter one another, both should be aware that electric-assist bicycles are often moving faster than expected.
“We’ve seen a fair number of electric bicycle crashes, and some of them involved significant injuries,” said Sherrin. “As a driver it can sometimes be surprising how quickly one is moving, since electric bicycles move so much faster than standard bikes. Please, take that extra moment to look and make an adjustment.”