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People come to aid of a cyclist (R) after he collided with the Orlikon Solar racing team vehicle (L) from Switzerland, during the around world Zero Race in Vancouver, British Columbia November 12, 2010.

Andy Clark/ Reuters

An event designed to showcase a new era of renewable energy vehicles was brought to a sudden halt when one of the automobiles collided with a bicycle.

The Zero Emissions Race, which kicked off nearly three months ago in Switzerland, was in Vancouver on Friday for the lone Canadian leg of its tour.

Don Chandler, spokesman for the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, said things were rolling right along until a cyclist rode off the sidewalk and into the renewable-energy vehicle's path.

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"It's a hard mix when the bicyclists jump out in front of you," Mr. Chandler said. "It's like a dog running off the curb right in front of you. You can't stop."

Mr. Chandler described a frightening scene moments after the crash. He said the cyclist, a 50-year-old man, didn't immediately respond to those who rushed to provide aid.

A B.C. Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the cyclist was taken to Vancouver General Hospital in serious condition, although she could not provide further details.

The Vancouver Police Department's collision investigation unit is looking into the accident.

Louis Palmer, the race tour's director, could not be reached for comment. Mr. Palmer made headlines in 2008 when he drove a solar-powered car around the world.

In a press release before the Vancouver event, Mr. Palmer said, "The purpose of the race is to show that zero-emission vehicles running on renewable energy use technologies that are available and reliable today."

The release went on to say, "The Zero Race is not about speed, but about other judgment criteria, including vehicle reliability, energy efficiency, utility to every day life, design and safety."

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The race began in Geneva in August, and the vehicles have been driven more than 16,000 kilometres. The race had been scheduled to arrive in Seattle on Saturday, although Mr. Chandler said the status of that stop was in question.

The race has also traveled through Russia, Kazakhstan and China. It was scheduled to wrap up in January in Switzerland.

Greenhouse gas emissions created by the race, from flights by participants or shipping cars, are being offset through investments in renewable energy projects.

Power is produced for the vehicles through solar and wind projects.

The vehicle in the accident sustained minor damage, Mr. Chandler said. He could not say how fast it was traveling at the moment of impact.

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