OTTAWA â€” The tragic death of a Carleton University student is raising concerns about a dangerous stretch of Bronson Avenue.
Police say Krista Johnson, 27, died Thursday night when the bicycle she was cycling northbound in the southbound lanes was struck by the car, which was travelling south.
She is the fourth cyclist to die on city streets this year. In her honour, there is now a ghost bike locked to a light standard near the scene of the accident.
Johnsonâ€™s death has illustrated again just how precarious the stretch of Bronson Avenue between Holmwood and Sunnyside can be, especially for those riding on two wheels.
â€œLetâ€™s face it, itâ€™s a busy highway,â€� said Hans Moor, president of Citizens for Safe Cycling.
The central problem is the Bronson bridge, which is at the north end of the expressway part of Bronson, where northbound drivers are (if traffic allows) still happily speeding along until they reach the narrower, more-often-clogged part just beyond.
Itâ€™s also where drivers heading southbound hit the gas as the road opens up before them.
The bridge has bike lanes but they intertwine with turn lanes onto the Colonel By and Queen Elizabeth parkways. Northbound, cyclists are supposed to cut across a turn lane if theyâ€™re going to stay on Bronson; southbound, drivers cut across the bike lane to get to the turnoff to Colonel By.
For northbound cyclists, the road is also very steeply uphill in that section, so a cyclist has to handle the northbound crossover from almost a standing start, looking over his or her shoulder as the bike lane runs out and cars whiz up and past.
If you should happen to be a cyclist arriving on Bronson from the wrong direction (that is, from the east when youâ€™re planning to turn south, or from the west if youâ€™re planning to turn north) it can be very hard to get to the correct side.
According to Google Maps, itâ€™s 700 metres between one set of traffic lights at Sunnyside Avenue and the next-most-northerly set at Holmwood, and almost the whole way Bronson has a wide raised median, so deking across during a break in traffic is extremely difficult. Your line of sight up and over the bridge isnâ€™t great and you have to dismount and run for it on foot because of the median, across something like six wide lanes.
If youâ€™re biking north out of Carleton University, a couple of these problems combine.
To read the whole story, visit here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Student+cycling+death+illustrates+precarious+stretch+Bronson/7422312/story.html
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