A harrowing experience on Dove Creek Road has left a local equestrian shaken and a motorcyclist with broken ribs.
On Aug. 16, horseback rider Colleen Ware was taking her five-year-old mare and her dog out to the trails near her home on Dove Creek Road. To access the riding trails, Ware has to cross a bridge over the creek, which lies around the corner from her cabin.
The problem is that the narrow bridge — which has no proper shoulder for equestrians to ride on — is in-between two blind corners. Because of the lack of shoulder, Ware said she crosses the bridge on the left side of the road, which is slightly wider.
Ware says motorists often come around the corners above the 60 km/h speed limit. She said this can spook her horses when they’re on the bridge, which only has a two-foot-high railing separating the bridge from the creek bed below.
“Its terrifying, to say the least,” she said.
On Aug. 16, Ware was crossing the bridge with her horse when a motorcyclist came racing around the corner, coming towards her. The motorcyclist tried to brake when he noticed Ware on her horse, but because of his speed, ended up crashing and breaking some of his ribs.
“It was nobody’s particular fault, it’s just a [crappy] situation that needs to be taken care of,” said Ware of the motorcyclist’s crash.
As the crashed motorcycle came sliding towards Ware, her horse panicked, back-pedalled and turned around into the other lane. Ware said she was lucky there were no cars coming from the other direction at the time, and that the horse didn’t jump over the railing into the creek bed, which would have been a 15-foot drop.
Following the accident, Ware made a Facebook post to bring awareness to the dangers posed by the bridge and the motorists who speed in the area. Within a few days the post had garnered more than 60 shares and 50 comments.
“I was really emotional about it and that’s the only way I could take a negative and try and turn it into a positive,” she said. “This needs to be the kick in the pants to get the ball rolling because next time, somebody may not be so lucky.”
Other local residents agree with Ware that the Dove Creek Road bridge is dangerous and that something needs to be done about the issue. Ware’s neighbour Dorothy Christie said she has witnessed multiple car accidents over the years due to people speeding as they come towards and across the bridge.
“Just because it’s a country road, people get the impression there’s nobody who lives out here and they can just drive like crazy,” said Christie. “We just need to find a way to slow them down.”
Ware and Christie said they are considering setting up signs to warn oncoming motorists of the blind corners and to remind them to drive the speed limit. Christie said the north Vancouver Island chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of British Columbia — a society for equestrians in B.C. — has also contacted the Ministry of Highways and the Comox Valley Regional District about the issue.