From her hospital bed, an Oak Bay woman is asking drivers – and cyclists – to slow down and be cautious after she was struck during her morning commute.
Dr. Rachel Staples suffered more than 18 fractures, a broken nose and several injuries to her face after she was hit by a vehicle the morning of Dec. 4.
Because her car wasn’t properly insured, Staples had decided to use her husband’s electric bicycle to get to her newly-opened dental practice in Colwood that morning. Around 7:40 a.m. she was using the Wale Road crosswalk, designated for cyclists.
“I waited for two cars to go and looked both ways and got back on my bike and rode across. And I must have got to that second lane. That’s all I remember from that part.”
The moments that followed the impact are fuzzy. When she woke on the ground, her mouth was full of blood. She thought her teeth had been knocked out until she realized her mouth was full of gravel.
|Dr. Rachel Staples' knee was split open and fractured when she was struck by a vehicle while cycling on Dec. 4. (Courtesy of Rachel Staples)
She was wearing goggles over her glasses, which had shattered underneath. Her knee had a compound fracture, she had perforated lungs and several fractured ribs. Her nose was broken and there were several cuts to her face.
When she was struck, Staples was wearing a helmet, a neon jacket and helmet and reflective pants. Her bike was equipped with electric lights.
Staples, a Greater Victoria dentist and breast cancer survivor, was in the news last year when she testified at an inquest into the overdose death of her 16-year-old son, Elliot Eurchuk. Now recovering in the trauma acute care unit at the Victoria General Hospital, it’s unlikely Staples will spend Christmas with her family.
“Things seem to happen in the blink of an eye,” she said. “We’re a city of commuters and, I mean, a bicycle is not going to fare very well with a 2000-pound vehicle.
“Take your time … there’s no rush.”
West Shore RCMP Const. Nancy Saggar told Black Press Media that a vehicle driven by a 69-year-old woman hit a cyclist that morning. Police ruled out impairment, but the driver was issued a ticket for driving without reasonable consideration, which comes with a $196 fine and a six penalty points.
Despite being able to do little other than listen to audio books and stare out the window while she recovers, Staples said she feels bad for the driver.
“I have empathy for her because I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have that happen,” Staples said. “I know how I would feel.”
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