CANMORE – A 26-year-old man sustained life threatening injuries after colliding with a metal utility pole at the intersection of Benchlands and Bow Valley trails Saturday night (July 24).
The Canmore RCMP said the man was heading south on his bike on the multi-use path on the east side of Benchlands Trail near the Shops of Canmore.
Police said he collided with the pole at a high speed between 10:30 and 11 p.m.
“We have the basic idea of what happened, but given the severity of the injuries we want to talk to as many people as we can that may have seen or came to his aid,” Cpl. Sabrina Clayton said.
Canmore Fire-Rescue Chief Walter Gahler said they got the call at 10:45 p.m. and a crew of three arrived at the scene, beginning lifesaving measures on “significant facial and head trauma" injuries.
Gahler said a Banff EMS crew arrived and transported him to Canmore General Hospital and then to the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. He remains in the hospital as of Wednesday morning, police said.
Clayton added several bystanders helped until Canmore Fire-Rescue arrived on the scene. They’re also looking to speak with people who may have been with him prior to him cycling to help collect as much information on the incident as possible.
Clayton said it’s unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved since the investigation is ongoing, but he didn’t have a helmet at the time of the crash.
“As an adult you don’t have to wear a helmet, but it’s a really good idea when you’re riding a bike,” she said.
Under the Highway Traffic Safety Act, only people under 18 have to wear a helmet when cycling unless the municipality has a bylaw stating otherwise.
Gahler echoed the importance of wearing a helmet, especially as cycling has grown in popularity as a way to get around Canmore.
“There’s an extraordinary amount of bicycles in town. They’re great for getting around, health and fitness, but we’re noticing an uptick in bicycle accidents. It’s really critical that a properly fitted helmet is worn at all times when biking, ride within your ability and know the conditions you’re riding.
“We’ve responded to a lot of incidents where people are badly hurt and it’s avoidable and we want to help people avoid that. … By and large people do wear helmets and when they do and they get into an accident, it does save their lives. It’s as bluntly put.”
Anyone with information, witnesses or people who may have helped at the scene can contact policy at 403-678-5519.