Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chilliwack, BC
Bikes: Trek 2000, Catrike, Gitane tandem, no-name mountain bike
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Tandem cyclists killed near Banff
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Crash kills 2 cyclists
Two-seater struck by semi-trailer
By DAVE HUSDAL AND ADAM GORING, THE BANFF CRAG & CANYON
LAKE LOUISE -- Two cyclists are dead following the latest in a string of fatal traffic crashes on the Trans-Canada Highway near Lake Louise.
The two were killed yesterday around 10 a.m. when the two-seater touring bike they were pedalling was struck by a westbound semi about two km west of the Lake Louise overpass.
The ages and names of the victims, a man and a woman believed to be from the U.S., were not released by RCMP.
The victims were struck as they rode west on the north shoulder of the undivided road in a 70 km/h (43 mph)speed zone. There, westbound traffic must merge from two lanes to one as the road curves to the right on the heavily travelled route.
The highway was bare and dry at the time of the accident.
Const. France Levesque said the truck driver indicated he braked quickly for a car before colliding with the bike.
The paved portion of the shoulder of the road is less than five feet wide where the collision occurred -- a soft gravel shoulder extends beyond that.
The truck entered the ditch but came to rest back on the road a few hundred metres west of where the cyclists were struck.
A trail of debris, including pieces of the mangled bike and belongings of the victims, was visible in the ditch.
Traffic slowed to a crawl as drivers passed the scene.
Lake Louise firefighters used cat litter to absorb a small diesel fuel spill and helped in the recovery of the bodies.
The distraught-looking driver of the truck did not appear to be physically hurt as he stood outside his rig.
The truck is owned by Valmar Express Lines Inc. of Calgary.
Martin Wandinger, manager of the company, was awaiting more information on the crash yesterday.
"It's just a pretty nasty situation," Wandinger said.
"It's a tragedy... total misfortune."
Crashes on the undivided Trans-Canada from Castle Junction, where it intersects with Hwy. 93, past Lake Louise to the B.C. border, claimed 22 lives from 1998 to 2002, with eight people dying in 2001 and another eight in 2002, according to RCMP stats.
Yesterday's fatalities were the first of 2003 on the deadly stretch of road.
Lobbying for twinning of the highway has been ongoing, with advocates including Wildrose MP Myron Thompson, the Lake Louise Community Council and the Association for Mountain Parks Protection and Enjoyment.
The federal government has said it needs help from the province for major improvements to the road, while the provincial government has called for more federal funding to twin the deadly highway.