Concerns raised over bicycle safety in Sussex County

Coastal Highway – Rehoboth Beach (WGMD’s Alan Henney)

With an increasing amount of Delawareans hitting the bike trails across Sussex County, comes an increasing concern over safety following a number of incidents this summer where bicyclists have been hit by vehicles.

Days after a bicyclist was seriously injured in a collision with a vehicle near Frankford, James Wilson, Executive Director of Bike Delaware, appeared on Delmarva LIVE and expressed concerns over the crash, saying it’s the kind that bicyclists fear the most.

Bike Delaware’s James Wilson appears on WGMD’s Delmarva LIVE

“It was midday, clear weather, a straight road, nothing about the situation suggests that there should’ve been any problem with visibility, and the cyclist was hit from behind,” Wilson said. “That’s the kind of crash that every cyclist fears the most.”

Wilson said data must be extensively examined to identify patterns in order to accurately assess the crashes and find a solution to increase safety, especially along Route 1 where you’ll find the highest concentration of bicycle collisions.

“Anybody who’s passionate about bicycle safety, our attention should be focused on Route 1,” Wilson said. “It’s not just for the beach area, this is just far and away the biggest concentration of crashes anywhere in the State of Delaware, bicycles crashes specifically.”

Bike Delaware’s James Wilson appears on WGMD’s Delmarva LIVE

One of the contributing factors to reduce the number of accidents in the coastal area, John Fiori, DelDOT bicycle coordinator, has been the completion of the Coastal Highway pedestrian improvement project from Nassau to the Rehoboth Canal.

The project, he pointed out in an interview with our Alan Henney, “filled in the gaps” by installing sidewalks to make a continuous network from Nassau to the canal.

As the project was completed, it provided an option for bicyclists to use the bike lane or the sidewalk, according to Fiori. “Typically the experienced bicyclists will use the bike lane while the casual rider feels comfortable on the sidewalk,” he said, noting that the rules of the road are different for each.