Half of Huron County family hit by vehicles while riding bike

Oliver Sawchuk, 15, is lucky to be alive after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike, metres from his family’s driveway.

“When the paramedics were putting him on the stretcher, I could see him point with his arm, and say, I almost made it, mom,” says Oliver’s mom, Julie.

Oliver was just a few metres from his parent’s driveway when he was hit by a passing vehicle on Monday of the Labour Day weekend. He suffered a broken arm, and concussion.

If that weren’t bad enough, Oliver is the second member of the Sawchuk family to be hit by vehicle while riding their bike on Blyth Road. His mom, Julie, was left paralyzed after being hit by a passing vehicle six years ago. It’s the reason she’s in a wheelchair, today.

“It was the same road that I was hit on, and I sustained a spinal cord injury. How much worse it could have been is all that goes through my mind,” says Sawchuk.

Her son’s crash has reignited Sawchuk’s activism on road safety for cyclists. Thousands of vehicles across Ontario have yellow, one metre safety for cyclists stickers on their vehicles thanks to Sawchuk.

She’s now convinced, one entire lane is required when passing a cyclist, on the province’s high-speed highway zones.

“The rule is one metre for passing a cyclist. That’s from my shoulder to the tips of my fingers. Get yourself out on a bike and feel what it’s like to be passed that close by any vehicle, let alone the vehicles travelling 90 plus kilometres an hour. So, one metre is not enough,” she says.

Sawchuk says she’ll be pushing governments to update the rules around passing cyclists, as she monitors her son’s rehabilitation, from a crash, that struck an eerie similarity to her crash, that turned out much differently.

“It was right at the end of our driveway. He was like six metres from our mailbox,” she says.

Police say they are investigating the Labour Day collision, but no charges have been laid.

You can learn more about road safety for cyclists and Sawchuk’s push to change the rules of the road at www.juliesawchuk.ca.