We have been lucky in Rhode Island recently to have avoided deadly collisions involving bicyclists. That streak has now, tragically, ended. On Friday, Charlie Hawkins of North Providence was hit and killed while crossing a four-lane road in Warwick in the early evening.
Charlie worked for two U.S. Senators on transportation and energy, and was 64 years old. His death was avoidable and should have been avoided.
Traffic fatalities are not acceptable. Until our state and local governments take responsibility for making our streets safer, this sort of horrific tragedy will continue to happen. Failure to make our streets safer for all road users is unacceptable.
Additionally, while bike helmets protect bicyclists from injuries and can save lives, it is a questionable practice for media outlets such as the Providence Journal to call attention to whether or not people killed while bicycling were wearing helmets or not. Doing so implies that those killed without wearing a helmet (and by extension all bicyclists) are more to blame than those who hit them. If journalists wish to suggest the severity of an accident, a better piece of information to reference would be the speed of the traffic on the street. Police providing information to journalists should also consider this factor.