A Cowichan Valley cyclist was struck by what’s believed to be a mini van Saturday about 4 p.m., leaving him in considerable pain with a back injury and his bike sheered in half.
“I was going right by the entrance to the Save-On on the highway,” explained Daniel Deener.
Deener was headed south when the northbound vehicle cut off two lanes of traffic to squeeze out a left-hand turn into the Save-On lot.
The mini-van missed the other vehicles but struck Deener.
“My feeling is he probably gunned it and I was right in front of him and I guess he couldn’t do anything,” the cyclist said. “I try and really stay aware of everybody around me when I’m on a bike, especially in town. I’m a very defensive rider.”
Deener said he saw just the fender of the vehicle out of the corner of his eye but was thinking to himself the van must have stopped because there wasn’t enough room for it to safely make the turn.
“That thought wasn’t even out of my head yet when I heard a big bang,” he recalled. “I don’t remember anything after that except coming to.”
What bothers Deener more than the collision itself is the actions of passersby, who were admittedly quite worried for his well-being but not nearly as concerned about getting the information of the driver who struck him despite his repeated requests.
“People rushed over. I kind of laid on the pavement for what seemed like a couple of minutes to wiggle my toes and fingers and see if my head moved and kind of assess my injuries,” he said.
While on the ground, Deener said he saw the van he believes hit him idling about 45 or 50 feet away.
“It was just sitting there. People were talking to me so I kind of pulled myself up on my knees and my elbows and I said to the people there ‘would someone please go get the licence number of that vehicle for me?’”
“I asked the people there a total of five times if someone would please go get the licence number.”
Still no action from anyone in the small group forming at his side.
“I got up on my feet and people were telling me to stay down but I was really concerned that this person hadn’t actually exited their vehicle and come over. Finally I got up on my feet.”
The passersby urged him to sit back down but he was adamant he get the licence number.
The citizens maintained the van driver was just in the parking lot and would eventually come over.
“There were people kind of all crowded around me. Like a shield of people preventing me from getting the information,” Deener said.
One man physically stopped the injured cyclist, albeit gently, from getting the information himself but then refused to go get the information from the driver on Deener’s behalf.
At one point Deener glanced up and the van was gone.
“I guess he just drove away. I was so frustrated. Nobody moved. Nobody did anything,” he wondered.
“What’s going on here? We live in a day and age where everybody has a cell phone. Phones were out, people were calling 911, people were snapping pictures. If nobody wanted to walk over there, anyone could have just turned around and snapped a picture. We could have blown it up.”
Deener hopes that if somebody did take a picture, they’ll bring it to the police.
“I don’t want this person to just disappear on me,” he said, adding all he’s aware the police have in the form of tangible evidence is a piece of the broken van.
All Deener has been left with are some injuries and the pain of knowing more could have been done at the time to help find the driver who struck him.
“My back is a real mess right now. I get really sharp pains,” he said. “I’m probably lucky to be here talking to you.”
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Krista Hobday confirmed “video of the incident is being reviewed.”