'Happy to be alive and mad as hell': Cyclist hospitalized after Sea to Sky collision
VANCOUVER -- When cyclist Todd Nickel embarked on his first 100-kilometre century ride along the Sea to Sky Highway on B.C. Day, he didn't expect to end up in the hospital with several broken bones.
Nickel said in a social media post he started at Britannia Beach and was heading south on the highway when his first attempt at the long the ride "went a bit, ahem, sideways."
Shortly before noon, Squamish RCMP tweeted they were responding to a collision south of Furry Creek, and that the road was closed in both directions. They warned traffic was backing up and asked drivers to "be patient, be kind, and allow us to do our job and get people all the help they need."
Then on Tuesday, RCMP released a statement saying a cyclist was hit by, "a load of lumber being carried in the bed of a pickup truck."
It went on to say, "witnesses reported the strap of the load appeared to have broken causing the load to shift from the rear of the bed, significantly over to the right side of the bed of the truck, and protruding over the shoulder of the highway, unbeknownst to the driver."
Mounties confirmed there were two cyclists reportedly struck, but that one continued on and has not yet been located by police.
When police tweeted about the road closures, Nickel responded to the RCMP tweets, indicating he was that cyclist.
He later posted that he had, "lots of busted stuff but it could have been a lot worse" and that he was, "happy to be alive, and mad as hell." He said he had a punctured lung and a broken clavicle, scapula and eight ribs.
Nickel posted a picture of the truck he says hit him. The photo shows large wooden planks hanging askew out the back of the pickup truck. The cargo juts sideways towards the shoulder of the road.
"The picture's shocking," said HUB cycling volunteer, Jeff Leigh. "This is just a cry out for changes to our motor vehicle act."
He said the group is advocating for change to make "vulnerable road users" such as cyclists are recognized class under the Motor Vehicle Act.
"There are fundamental differences between the driver of that pickup truck and the operator of the bicycle," he explained, saying that by not recognizing vulnerable road users, but instead "the onus is on the cyclist to prove that’s what the driver did."
Nickel updated his Twitter followers on his condition Tuesday, saying, “Pretty overwhelmed by the response here. Apologies if I don’t get a chance to reply. Dodged scapula surgery but lung still dicey.”
He wrote he’s hoping to go on home Wednesday.
The RCMP traffic services investigators issued the driver a ticket for driving without consideration, which if convicted carries a potential fine of $196, and an insecure load, which if convicted carries a potential fine of $288.