(Louise Mccormick)

A 70-year-old cyclist was air-lifted to hospital Friday afternoon after being struck by truck on Hwy 19 near Nanaimo.

The incident occurred at around 11:15 a.m., in the northbound lanes of the Island Highway, just north of where the Island Highway merges with Highway 19A.

Nanaimo RCMP described the man’s injuries as serious.

According to witnesses, the cyclist was travelling northbound and appeared to be attempting to merge to the right side of the highway when he was struck by a truck driving the same direction.

RCMP said the injured cyclist was treated at the scene by an off-duty paramedic and nurse until paramedics arrived.

The northbound lanes of the highway were closed for an air medical helicopter to land just north of the collision scene.

Police said the driver of the truck remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators. Drugs and alcohol have been ruled out as contributing factors.

The northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for several hours while investigators examine the scene. The truck involved, an older model GMC pickup, has been towed and will undergo a mechanical inspection.

Investigators are asking for any motorists who have not spoken with police and may have dashcam video or eye witness evidence, to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

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