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Crashes mount on Cape Region’s Main Street

August 13, 2019

Route 1 has long been considered the Main Street of the Cape Region. Over the past three days, two people died and a third person clings to life after crashes on this highway.

Recent improvements to Route 1 include continuous sidewalks, pedestrian-activated traffic signals, and improved lighting and signage. 

Still, the crashes continue. 

Driving, walking and cycling can all be hazardous.

One death occurred when a driver crashed into traffic stopped in front of her; a second involved a pedestrian crossing Route 1 at night without a flashlight. The third incident involved a cyclist seriously injured when struck while riding northbound in the southbound lane. 

A fourth incident involved a driver who struck a road construction vehicle but escaped without injury.

These serious incidents are in addition to 44 total crashes involving cyclists on or near Route 1 this year. These crashes, including noninjury incidents, were shown in a report by the Office of Highway Safety.

As one expert put it, when it comes to cycling incidents, “Route 1 lights up like a Christmas tree.”

These bike crashes on Route 1 indicate it is time to think about requiring cyclists using Route 1 sidewalks to ride only in the direction of traffic.

Drivers searching for a break in traffic to access Route 1 often fail to notice cyclists coming from the right. Crossing Route 1 is not easy, but cyclists traveling with traffic, on sidewalks or in the bus lane, are far more visible to drivers.

At the very least, cyclists must, as officials suggest, make eye contact with the driver before crossing a driveway or intersection. That’s the only way to be sure a driver sees you. 

A recent meeting about near collisions on the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail highlighted safety issues when pedestrians mix with faster cyclists and when cyclists fail to stop at intersections.

Education and safety outreach for people on the trail remains critical – but safety on Route 1 is the most urgent problem in our region.

Let’s slow down, watch out for others and make our Main Street safe. 

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, publisher emeritus, and Laura Ritter, news editor, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.