CANADA: Man Feared Dead After Being Chased Into Icy River By Edmonton Police Over Minor Bicycle Bylaw Infraction

Natasha Biase

An investigation is underway in Alberta, Canada, after a man being chased by police fell through the ice on the North Saskatchewan River and drowned. The unidentified man had reportedly been fleeing officers on a bike over a bylaw infraction before jumping onto the icy river.

The chase began just after 2:00 a.m. in Edmonton after the man was seen committing what police claimed to be a bylaw infraction. According to Bike Edmonton, traffic bylaws in the city range from riding a bicycle on the sidewalk to not owning a bicycle bell.

“A person shall not ride a bicycle on any sidewalk. This section does not apply if the bicycle has a wheel diameter of 50 centimeters or less; or if the sidewalk is designated as a bicycle path,” reads section 49.

Additionally, section 50 states that anyone riding a bicycle on a sidewalk or designated path must yield to slower pedestrians, use a bell to alert pedestrians of their whereabouts, and travel at a reasonable speed that is considerate of nature, weather conditions, and the volume of foot traffic.

The officers activated their lights to encourage the man to stop, but he evaded them by heading toward a nearby ravine. The police were able to locate him on “the south bank of the river just east of the Walterdale Bridge” before he “jumped from the bank onto the river ice and drifted away from shore.” Moments later, the man was pulled underwater and could not be located.

“The man subsequently jumped from the bank onto the river ice and drifted away from shore. He was pulled under the water moments later and has not been located,” explained the Edmonton Police Service in a news release.

While his death has not yet been confirmed, many have presumed the man as dead due to the icy conditions of the water.

News of the man’s tragic disappearance shocked many on X, formerly Twitter. Posting a brief summary of the incident, Duncan Kinney, editor of the Progress Report, highlighted the absurdity of the situation given how minor most bicycle bylaw infractions are.

“Police are a menace,” responded another user.

Others accused the police of being hypocrites for prioritizing bylaw infractions while climate activists can block major roads in the city.

“Carbon tax protesters can block roads & weigh scales. Actually breaking multiple real provincial laws. Nothing! But a cyclist gets chased for bylaw infraction, leads to death. Sad.”

Although emergency services were called in, including firefighters, ground resources, and an Air1 police helicopter, the body of the unidentified man is still missing.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, responsible for investigating events where police may have caused severe injury or death, has been called in to look into the incident.

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