Providence girl on bike, instead of bus, struck on way to school

Providence police recover a Jump bike they say a girl was riding to school when she was struck by a car, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (WJAR)

On the first day of a school bus drivers’ strike Thursday, Providence police said a 13-year-old girl who usually takes the bus was struck by a car while riding a Jump Bike.

More than 200 members of Teamsters Local 251 walked off their jobs at First Student in a dispute over pension benefits, and the city did not provide alternate transportation.

Police said the girl was struck at Hope Street and Doyle Avenue at 8:23 a.m. She was taken to a hospital with minor injuries to her leg.

Authorities said the girl, who goes to Nathan Bishop Middle School, was riding a motorized Jump Bike that she picked up at University Heights. The crash occurred just days after the city wheeled out the new bikes.

But according to the bike-share company's website, riders must be at least 18 years or older to ride one of the bikes, which can reach speeds up to 20 mph. Riders get a boost each time they pedal.

Union President Nick Williams told NBC 10 a bike accident is the worst-case scenario.

"That we were afraid of. And I really hope, to her family, that she is fine,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear how long the strike will continue. City officials are urging parents to make arrangements for transportation.

Rolf Nelson drove and picked up his daughter, Willa, from Vartan Gregorian Elementary School in Providence.

"I hope this gets resolved in a way that works for everyone,” Nelson said. “It's a tough situation with that many kids going in. Something is bound to happen. I would be upset if I was that parent, of course."

Providence school officials said elementary and middle school attendance dropped nearly 10 percent Thursday, when compared to the average attendance last September.

"That's really bad, yeah. They should be able to learn, even if the buses aren't driving," Willa Nelson said.

As for the crash, police did not release any information about the driver.

NBC 10 News reached out to Mayor Jorge Elorza's office for comment, but didn't hear back.

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