A fatal bicycle accident in Newport last week left locals of the Rhode Island city in mourning, and also upset. Kayla Watson, a 34-year-old Middletown resident, was killed while riding an electric bike to work on Admiral Kalbfus Road. Watson was fatally injured after being struck by a bucket truck at an intersection on a stretch of road notoriously known for being dangerous. The intersection where Admiral Kalbus Road and Hillside Avenue meet has been the subject of a number of safety studies over the years which have shown a “general neglect for traffic safety laws”, including frequent speeding and running red lights. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, at Tapalian Law we all too often see first-hand the detrimental injuries and tragic fatalities that result when a bicyclist or pedestrian is hit by a car or truck. Losing a loved one in an accident is always devastating, particularly when the harm was caused by a careless driver and was unavoidable.
Intersection a Long-Time Traffic Hazard
Just this summer, a group of area residents voiced their concerns and requested safety improvements to the Newport City Council, RI Department of Transportation, and state and national officials in an 18-page letter. While the intersection has been a long-time traffic safety concern, residents’ uneasiness escalated when the RIDOT Pell Bridge ramp realignment project resulted in a big influx of commercial and construction vehicles being re-routed through the area. Considered part of Route 138, a larger state highway, Admiral Kalbus Road is also a residential area. Hillside Avenue is also a residential area and a main route to and from Newport’s Pell Elementary School which is of great concern to both parents and neighbors who frequently observe motorists driving with a disregard for speed limits and traffic signals.