We are sorry to report that it’s happened again. Another cyclist has been struck on Rhode Island roads and currently, it looks like the motorist will just get away with it. According to the cyclist, Russ Harkay, he was riding along route 1A in Westerly when
[the motorist] turned right at [the] Langworthy Inn onto Shore road… in doing so , he crossed a lane and plowed into me and my bike. He told the police that the reason he never applied his brakes is that he never saw me until it was too late. I am listed on the same form as a pedestrian and as having been struck by his car.
If you follow bicycle accidents around the country, there seems to be a common thread. Most police departments focus sorely on automobiles and either don’t care to or don’t have the ability to differentiate between reporting accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians. While some can argue there is little difference, it makes it almost impossible to track statistics on such accidents. Russ continues by saying
today I saw my [principle care physician], he ordered a battery of tests and cannot believe no one was charged. According to the police report, I was riding in the bike lane on the side of the road as I should, had flashing strobe lights on my Marin Stelvio carbon fiber bike, and , of course, was wearing the helmet that saved my life. There is damage to my hip where I was hit and I will suffer arthritic changes. I continue to suffer from the concussion that caused me to lose consciousness for 30 minutes.is doing his best to see that the driver is cited. I still have not been interviewed by the police and called the station today requesting that they do so to complete the report.
The accident occurred on August 13th and as of August 17th he had still not been interviewed by the police. Russ has gone so far as contacting the police, requesting that he be interviewed. I have not yet heard an update as to whether this interview has been granted. As of yet, the driver has not been cited for any sort of moving violation. I’ve said it before and, unfortunately, I’ll likely say it again, accidents do happen, but people need to take responsibility for the result of their actions. Russ appears to have been doing everything he could, yet he will likely live with physical handicaps for the rest of his life and, aside from the moral implications, will have nothing to remind him of the life long changes he has inflicted upon someone else.
I’ve been unable to find any mention of this accident in any papers. Also, the online police reports posted to the Westerly police department website only go through August 8th, so there is no mention of the accident yet.
It’s time for Rhode Island to have the laws on the books, ensuring that the police have the ability to charge drivers with something when they are involved in an accident and for a court of law to uphold those charges. Once again, RIBike will be work to get Vulnerable Roadway User legislation passed during the next session, this is another sad reminder of how desperately such legislation is needed.
We will update everyone as more details are made available.