It’s a terrible tragedy no parent should ever have to experience. A 6-year-old Somerset, MA boy was involved in a fatal crash while on a leisurely bike ride with his family. The family was bicycling on the East Bay bike path on July 24th, when the fatal crash occurred at the intersection of the East Bay bike path and Poppasquash Road in Bristol, RI. A 21-year-old Connecticut driver collided with the young boy on his bicycle and some area residents are claiming poor visibility at the site may be to blame. As Rhode Island bike accident injury lawyers, at Tapalian Law we have seen catastrophic injuries and tragic fatalities result when a bicycle collides with a vehicle. The weight of a car or truck colliding with a bicycle almost always has horrific results involving severe injuries including brain trauma, serious bodily injury, and often fatalities. Over 800 lives were lost in 2015 alone in the U.S., in crashes involving a bicycle and motor vehicle, according to the NHTSA.
Town of Bristol Had Been Warned
A concerned citizen had warned the Bristol Town Administrators assistant four years ago via email about the poor visibility at the East Bay bike path and Poppasquash Road intersection where the tragic bike accident took place. The email spoke of several near crashes witnessed at the sight. With this email, Bristol was put on notice of a potentially dangerous problem. The question remains however whether even though the Town was alerted to the potential problem, did it properly address the safety issue and if so, did it continually maintain surveillance of the area to ensure its safety continued. The Town said at that time they worked to address the issue at the location by sending the Department of Transportation (DOT) to perform landscaping to improve visibility. Some nearby residents feel further safety measures need to be taken such as installing flashing lights and reducing the speed limit to make the intersection safer.
Who is Responsible for Maintaining RI Bike Paths?
In Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is responsible for roadways and right of ways, but the Department of Environmental Management, or the town, are responsible for maintaining the bike paths. The East Bay Bike Path, constructed in phases between 1987 and 1992, is the first multi-town bike path built in Rhode Island and travels 14.5 miles. The RIDOT website states maintenance concerns with the bike path should be addressed to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Parks and Recreation.
Rhode Island Bike Paths Will be Studied
The RIDOT says it will conduct a safety study on the 200 intersections where bike paths cross with vehicle traffic. The study is expected to take 6 months. In the meantime, the brush has been cut back at the Bristol site making signs and the path easier to see. Temporary stop signs have also been placed by concerned citizens, which the Town of Bristol has approved for the time being. There is an existing regulation seven-foot-high stop sign on the path for bicyclists, however a sign at that height may be difficult for a child to see. Further steps will be taken to determine what permanent safety measures need to be installed to ensure the safety of cyclists and drivers going forward. For tips on safer bike riding, visit our Tapalian Law blogs on bike safety tips, or visit the League of American Bicyclists.
Consult with an Experienced Rhode Island Bike Accident Lawyer
If you, or a loved one, have been hurt in a bike accident in Rhode Island, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical treatment. Seek out the expert advice of David Tapalian, an experienced bike accident attorney at Tapalian Law. Bike accident injuries can be dire and require extensive medical treatment and lengthy hospital stays, especially when they involve a moving vehicle. Bike accident injuries may be caused by falls, rider error or negligence, or poorly maintained roads. Cyclists may be hit by drunk drivers, or distracted drivers talking on a cell phone or texting. If you are injured in an accident, you may be subject to lost wages from missing work, unexpected medical and hospital bills, long-term medical care, an inability to return to your job at the same capacity, and pain and suffering. All of these factors and more can take a huge toll on an innocent victim and their family. With the assistance of Tapalian Law, you may be eligible to seek damages for these losses related to your bike accident.
If you have lost a loved one in a RI bike accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Consult with an experienced RI bike accident lawyer to determine if you are eligible to file wrongful death charges against the driver involved in the accident. Attorney David Tapalian has successful helped countless victims of car accidents, bike accidents, and truck accidents, seek damages for their Rhode Island or Massachusetts crashes. With offices in both Providence, RI, and Seekonk, MA, Tapalian Law is ready to help you today. Call us at 401-552-5000 or contact us online.