Later today, Charmaine Mitchell will be making her first attempts to stand after a horrific collision on the Stanley Park seawall knocked her off the ground and onto the rocks 10 feet below.
Her boyfriend James Drummond told Vancity Buzz that he was right beside her when the incident took place at around 4 p.m. on Saturday near Second Beach.
“The guy was not wearing a helmet. Three guys came around like they were chasing each other,” said Drummond. “The first two came into the pedestrian lane, causing us to move over towards the edge. The third guy came right at her and knocked her off the seawall.”
The male cyclist did not take off and he gave all his information to the Park Ranger and life guard. The identity of the individual responsible has not been made public at this time.
The extent of Mitchell’s injuries include a fractured left patella, fractured big right toe, and three fractured vertebrae including a burst fracture. Her surgical procedure on Tuesday involved inserting eight screws and two rods onto her back, but it will be a long road to full recovery.
Surgeons at Vancouver General Hospital estimate it will take three months before she is able to walk again.
While initial reports called Mitchell an American tourist, she was born in Toronto and lived in Vancouver for three years before moving to Virginia state. She has also visited Vancouver at least a dozen times over the last few years.
Drummond said the Vancouver Police Department has been slow to respond, telling him that it is not a police issue but a civil issue. He is hoping an official statement will be made later today, but it will come a week after the incident occurred.
He also took aim at the City of Vancouver’s mandate of expanding cycling culture and infrastructure, which has created a conflict between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. He believes the same consideration is not given to other groups, especially pedestrians, who also use the roads and public spaces like the seawall.
“The advocacy that they have put in for the cyclists in this city has been well documented and controversial. In a major tourist area like the seawall, the same advocacy needs to be shared between pedestrians and cyclists,” said Drummond.
“That particular point on the seawall is very narrow and there are points the seawall should maybe be a part where cyclists dismount.”
Just a day before the incident occurred, volunteers with the Vancouver Police were seen pointing radar guns on cyclists riding the False Creek seawall. Police told Vancity Buzz that they were educating people on the 15 km/hr seawall speed limit.
Featured Image: Stanley Park seawall via Shutterstock