Jody Fraser is attended to by emergency medical services after his e-bike crash on Pelham Street. CONNIE LYNN

E-bike rider taken to hospital following twist and tumble

A Welland man is in hospital with a knee injury after having crashed his ebike on Pelham Street in Fonthill on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 5, the victim of a protruding maintenance hole cover. The roadway has been under construction for well over a year, with an anticipated completion date in the next few weeks, according to Director of Public Works Jason Marr.

Jody Fraser, 47, was riding his ebike north on Pelham Street just north of Highway 20 a little after 12 noon, when the accident occurred.

“I was only doing about 30 km/hour when I came to the construction zone,” he said. “I slowed down, and when I saw a sign that said ‘construction zone ends’, I sped up a bit. Then my tire got caught by the manhole cover, and I braked hard. My bike went over, and crushed my right knee.”

He said he had surgery Thursday evening, and will require additional surgery and physiotherapy thereafter, during a recovery that will take at least six weeks.

“I had been off work collecting CERB, and had just started a new job at Chuck’s Roadhouse, in Welland,” said Fraser, despondent at the setback. “I think the Town should have been more responsible, by putting up more pylons and barriers around those manhole covers.”

Connie Lynn lives on Pelham Street near the site of the accident, and came out of her house to assist Fraser after his spill.

“I think that his bike’s handle grip and foot rest took a lot of the impact, but his arms and his knees were banged up and scratched,” she said. Fraser was wearing shorts at the time.

Uwe Brand also lives on Pelham Street, and was critical of the construction situation.

“The precautions in place are not good enough,” he said. “The Town should have proper markings, to ensure the road is safe. I’ve seen cars hit the exposed maintenance hole covers—you can hear the ‘bang.’ They likely have undercarriage damage.”

Former Pelham Mayor Ron Leavens lives just down the street from the construction as well.

“I came out and saw the bike lying on the road. There will be more accidents that happen there. I left several messages at the Town office, but no one was answering.”

Leavens said he finally got in touch with Councillor John Wink, who agreed to follow up.

“These manholes are raised an inch or two above the pavement level,” said Leavens. “The construction has been going on for a year and a half. [Yet] the Town did the section of roadwork from Port Robinson Road to College Street in three months.”

Leavens was aware that the construction was delayed by winter weather.

“That’s fair enough. They had to wait until spring. But this is not spring. We are almost at the end of summer. And somebody is going to get killed here, because people don’t know the situation. Cars come bombing down here, and we have heard them bottom out when they hit the exposed covers.”

Within an hour of the accident, Public Works was on site to place cones around the covers.