RIDOT vows to study intersections at bike paths after fatal crash


A day after a 6-year-old boy was hit and killed by a car while riding his bicycle, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation is looking into why there weren't more safety measures along a bike path in Bristol.

A bicycle crossing sign and striping indicate to drivers that they're approaching a bike path, but bicyclists and community members say more needs to be done.

“There's always more that we could do to prevent this kind of tragedy and we'll be looking at that,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said Wednesday.

Alviti told NBC 10 News that engineers will study the more than 200 intersections that connect with state bike paths to see if more safety measures need to be taken, including on Poppasquash Road where the deadly crash happened Tuesday afternoon.

The Department of Environmental Management told NBC 10 it sent a crew to the scene Wednesday morning at the request of Bristol police to clear brush in the area, as DEM is responsible for maintaining the state bike paths and clearing them of debris

The crash marks the first fatality on state bike paths since the state began recording that information in 1994, according to Alviti.

The day before the fatal crash, Somerset police spotted the boy bike riding with his father and gave him a gift certificate to a local ice cream shop because he was wearing a helmet.

“I guess it's kind of ironic in a very sad way,” said Somerset Police Chief George McNeil. “(It’s) just a tragic accident.”

It isn't the first time a bicyclist is hit by a car at that section of Poppasquash Road.

There have been five incidents of bicyclists being hit by cars during the past 17 years; however, none of the bicyclists were seriously injured.

Still, NBC 10 asked Alviti why more safety measures, such as a caution light, weren’t added in the past.

“One of the things we'll be looking at is the history at this particular location and whether or not any of those kinds of features were ever considered here,” Alviti said.

Bicyclists hope to see changes and said the East Bay Bike Path can give people a false sense of security.

“This one particularly has a lot of intersections, so some you can go for miles where there's only one or two, and this one there's just constant intersections,” said Allison Holaday, of Worcester. “Yeah, (the paths) just should be reworked to be safer for the cars to really acknowledge and stop, I think.”

The boy’s identify has not been revealed. Bristol police have also not identified the 21-year-old driver who hit the bicyclist or said if she will face any charges.

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