Island cyclists hold memorial ride for Alberta woman

Ryan Ross
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A special bike ride organized by members of Cycling P.E.I. and Triathlon P.E.I. took place Sunday evening following the death of a 63-year-old Alberta cyclist and tourist killed approximately 24 hours earlier on Rennies Road by an impaired driver.

She wasn't from here and they didn't know her, but some Island cyclists wanted to hold a memorial ride for the woman killed by an alleged drunk driver Saturday night.

About a dozen of them did just that Sunday night to honour 63-year-old Elizabeth Ann Sovis of Edmonton, who died after a van hit her while she was riding her bike on Rennies Road.

Kris Taylor, who is involved in both Cycling P.E.I. and Triathlon P.E.I., helped organize the ride and said there wasn't a lot of mourning in the community because no one knew Sovis.

"We just needed to mourn her as a cyclist, as one of us and show respect," he said.

RCMP arrested a man who has been charged with impaired driving causing death.

Clarence Arnold Moase, 49, of Kensington was remanded into custody until July 23 when he will appear in court to face an impaired driving causing death charge.

Sovis's death was the second on the Island in the last year.

Raymond Alfred Cantelo of Strathcona is scheduled to go to trial in December after he pleaded not guilty to several charges including impaired driving causing death in a crash that killed a woman in Peakes in October. She was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle.

Taylor said the cyclists wanted to show support for Sovis's family and raise awareness of some of the issues involved in the crash.

And "be a voice for cyclists on P.E.I.," he said.

The cyclists who took part in the ride pedaled about six kilometres up Rennies Road and had a moment of silence for Sovis.

Taylor is no stranger to the area where Sovis died and said he lives about 3 km from where the van hit her.

He said he's ridden on Rennies Road thousands of times, trained on it and taken teams he coached along it.

"It just really hit home, the whole incident," he said.

When it came to the memorial ride, Taylor said the biggest issue he wanted to draw attention to was drunk driving.

"Personally I think this issue is just too prevalent in our society today."

Taylor said too many people are bystanders who turn a blind eye to people they know drive drunk and it's time for people to start reporting them.

"It's just such a needless way to die is to be killed by a drunk driver," he said.

As an association, Cycling P.E.I. tries to promote cycling safety and while Taylor said the mentality toward cyclists is generally good, some drivers view them as a nuisance.

"It needs to change," he said.

Taylor said some Islands roads don't have shoulders and cyclists have to navigate them, but they aren't unsafe if drivers take the appropriate care.

"It's got to come from the travelling public," he said.

P.E.I. has a lot of trails for cyclists, Taylor said, but the weekend death was a black mark for the province when it comes to cyclists who might want to visit the Island.

"It wouldn't do anything to better our reputation."

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Alberta, Edmonton, Rennies Road Kensington Strathcona Peakes

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Recent comments

  • Dave
    July 18, 2012 - 18:02

    What a sad story indeed. Shame on you ,Clarance Arnold Moase not the first time you have been charged with impaired driving eh, this is what the 5th time I believe. You have a plumbing business and a family, great way to show your community spirit and to be a rols model for your family. You will have plenty of time in your cell to think about your horrible actions. Enjoy your toilet wine.

  • Very sad
    July 17, 2012 - 19:38

    What a horrible tragedy which will affect the vitim and her family and also the drunk driver's family who are also the victims and have to live with the terrible consequences of this. RIP Elizabeth. Sincere condoleneces to your family, friends and colleagues.

  • pierre
    July 17, 2012 - 18:21

    Je connais Ed Aunger. Il a un coeur d'or. I have never met a kinder, gentler, more helpful man. C'est une grande tragédie pour lui et pour nous tous.

  • CM
    July 17, 2012 - 08:50

    This story breaks my heart. I feel so much empathy for Mr. Sovis and his family,and a true sense of loss despite not having known Mrs. Sovis. Drinking and driving is a most henious crime and I can only hope that the mental anguish Mr. Moase feels will come with a stiff sentence. This crime deserves punishment.

  • Sylvia
    July 17, 2012 - 08:34

    I just read the writeup in Edmonton Journal website about this terrible accident and about how Elizabeth and her husband met as children and what a remarkable woman she was. What a terrible waste of the life of a remarkable person who had still so much to accomplish and had already accomplished so much.

  • DANGER
    July 17, 2012 - 05:23

    --i would not drive a bike on most roads of the world ---THE ROADS ARE KILLING FIELDS--please remember that -- does not matter where you are at in the world ,people die daily on highways -- on a bike or on foot you are even more vulnerable than in a vehcle ---blame all you want but blaming will not change a thing !! just because people try to be safe and respect the rules of the road does not guarantee anyone's safety and if you are out there on foot ,on a bike or in a vehicle you might die --THEM'S THE FACTS

    • Citizen
      July 17, 2012 - 09:06

      Danger- The whole point is that the person shouldn't have been out on the road intoxicated. And I bet if this was someone you knew you would blame also knowing their life was taken selfishly. People that bicycle and walk have just as much right to enjoy our island roads. We are talking about a life that was taken due to someone drinking and driving. It could have been prevented. Prayers to the family. Your in my thoughts.

    • danger
      July 17, 2012 - 17:35

      to "citizen" -of course it is an extreme tragedy -please read what the poor deceased lady's husband had to say on this topic in the next article from their hometown-i am saying simply to be extra careful , the roads are killing fields

  • Sylvia
    July 17, 2012 - 00:12

    To think that Elizabeth Ann Sovis came all the way from Edmonton and ends up being killed by a drunk P.E.I. driver is so sad and tragic. My hearfelt condolences are being sent to her husband, all her family members, and all her friends. Her death makes me feel very sad. She was having a lovely vacation, doing what she loved, and a drunk driver took away her life.

    • Jacques
      July 17, 2012 - 08:06

      Sylvia, you are so right, your comment is so deep and it kind of brought tears in my eyes. The question is what kind of punishment will he get. Coming from Quebec myself and living on PEI for the past 26 years, I found the PEI judges are not severe enough in many cases. It would be nice to see this person sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison and banned from driving for the rest of his life because taking the wheel while impaired and taking someone's life is the most despicable you can get and it heurt so many people related to the victim in this case Elisabeth. May God bless her soul.

  • Brian McInnis
    July 17, 2012 - 00:10

    I ride a lot and sometimes it really frightens me to ride out into traffic. Sunday morning I was coming down Brighton Road on my way home after a ride and in front of the Prince Edward Home an elderly driver coming in the opposite direction turned left into the home and nearly hits me. I truly don't think he saw me or even gave a thought to me if he did see me. i went back hoping to see the car so I could get his license plate and have the police call him and hopefully have a talk with him, but I did not get the make of the car. He did not set out to injure me - he just did not see me and i wonder who else did he almost hit that day and any day he is on the road. I have not been riding a long time, but in the past year (last year was the worst) I have been almost hit numerous times. In Stratford a half ton truck hauling a french fry wagon came within inches of killing me. There are times when I leave home on a ride and I wonder if I will make it back. Is it that motorists don't see cyclists or is it that they just don't care what happens to us riders? There are some riders who do really stupid things and they give us all a bad name, but when a 200 pound rider on a 17 pound bike hits a car, the motorist is not hurt, but when a two ton car hits a rider it is the rider who dies or at the very least is badly injured. One woman with two children in the car passed me, drove a few feet and turned right into her driveway almost hitting me. Why does she have a license? She obviously did not see me or if she did she did not care. Either way she should not be on the road, but unfortunately drivers like her and the elderly man continue to drive and put my life and other cyclists' lives in danger.

    • AMAZED
      July 18, 2012 - 07:48

      It seems to me as though you are putting your own life in danger,that many close calls and you still use the highway?I use to listen for large trucks before I approached my Guardian box in the morning at my old home because of the large truck wheels I find 100's of feet deep in my thick woods.If all was quiet I would retreive my paper and scram!I live on a quieter road now but would not walk or ride a bike on it on a bet...I know who I share it with.This womans tragedy is proof that no matter how cautious you are there are just too many dangers( many of them avoidable with proper law enforcement) on our roads.