A quick reaction from a driver avoided what could have been a dangerous accident during the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan cycling race on Sunday morning.
Near miss on highway 97 this morning during the Grand Fondo. @GlobalOkanagan @PentictonNews @pentictonherald @CastanetNews @971SunFM pic.twitter.com/JN7OUbulGI
— Siebs29 (@Insidethemask1) July 14, 2019
Shaun Siebert was driving north along Highway 97 toward Summerland behind group of cyclists in the race at around 7:45 a.m. on July 14. He felt like something was off as he approached them, he said.
“I slowed down a bit and was somehow ready. Then all of a sudden they jetted right out in front of me.”
Several of the cyclists crashed, with many falling into the left lane in front of his vehicle.
Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic so Siebert swerved to avoid hitting them.
“I’m just glad that everything aligned enough and no one got hurt,” he said.
Later, he tweeted the video of the incident, which was captured on his dash camera.
Jeff Plante, event director with the cycling competition, said a lot of effort is made to ensure the public is aware of the thousands of the cyclists who will be on the roads over the weekend.
“We have advisory signage for the road. We have a bunch of safety equipment out there on the road. That was a closed lane that the bikes were in and unfortunately there was a crash with some cyclists and a couple of riders swerved to avoid the crash,” Plante said.
“We’re happy that the motorist who shot the dash cam footage was obviously paying attention to all the advisory work that we put out there and managed to avoid an incident.”
More than 2,500 cyclists have taken over the roads in the South Okanagan this weekend for the ninth edition of the mass cycling event. The race finishes at 4 p.m. on Sunday, with cyclists crossing the finish line in Penticton.