The tight knit cycling community is working to help police solve a case of alleged vehicular assault against cyclists.
North Saanich resident and Team B.C. rider Megan Barnes, 14, was rammed from behind by a vehicle Friday night as she and a fellow competitive cyclist rode up Willis Point Road in Saanich. Barnes flew through the air and came to rest in the ditch beside the road, an estimated 30 feet from where she was hit.
The driver, a blonde woman operating what was described a grey-blue late model Dodge Dakota pickup truck, left the scene. The young rider was taken to hospital having suffered tissue damage to her left leg plus multiple bruises and contusions along her lower back and elbows.
Sherry Barnes, Megan’s mother, was having a hard time holding back her anger talking about the incident on Sunday at the velodrome facility in Colwood.
“As a parent right now, I can’t believe someone targeted my child and left her in the ditch,” she said. “It’s unacceptable.”
Unconfirmed media reports have indicated there may have been an altercation between the riders and the driver before the crash.
Since word of the incident spread, two other Greater Victoria men who are competitive cyclists have reported that they experienced a similar aggressive driving incident in the area, with a vehicle that may match the description of the truck involved in the Friday hit and run.
According to Tripleshot Racing Team coach Lister Farrar, one of the two men crashed into the back of the truck when the driver slammed on the brakes after overtaking the riders. The second rider rode after the vehicle and took a snapshot of the licence plate, which was apparently passed on to police.
“There is an element of the motoring public that feels that cyclists don’t have a right,” Farrar said. “You’ve got to give your head a shake, you’re driving a one-ton vehicle and you’re going to threaten someone dressed in sports clothes and running shoes? It just doesn’t make any sense at all that people have that kind of road rage.”
For her part, Megan said Sunday she is anxious to get back on the road. Despite being an experienced and safe rider, she said, she expected to take more caution on the road for a while.
Saanich police are investigating the file, but were unavailable for comment Sunday about a possible link between the two incidents.