VDOT changes policy after bicyclist hit by vehicle on bridge

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Department of Transportation is making immediate changes to increase safety on the pedestrian pathway across the Berkley Bridge after a woman riding her bike was hit by a vehicle there this past weekend.

The woman, Kelley Howell, just happened to be recording video when she was involved in the crash Saturday afternoon. The video she shared with WAVY.com shows her being knocked to the ground by a passing motorist on the pedestrian pathway.

VDOT confirmed a bridge tender was driving the vehicle involved in the accident. That driver has been placed on administrative leave.

Now, after an investigation of the incident, VDOT is not allowing bridge tender’s to drive vehicles for shift changes. They must now either walk or use a motorized cart. If a vehicle is required to be on the bridge for some reason, VDOT said it will be accompanied by a “walking spotter” to ensure safety.

It’s just what other cycling advocates like Travis Davidson, Vice President of the Tidewater Bicycle Association have been waiting to hear.

“I had a strong emotional reaction to that video because I’m a cyclist,” said Davidson.  “I cycle regularly on that bridge.  I’ve had vehicle encounters too.  That bridge is so tight, you might be able to see it on that video, even a stopped vehicle is really difficult to get by on a bicycle. We don’t want that many vehicles on the pedestrian path.  There’s an interstate right beside it, how about using it instead.”

VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Gwaltney said signs are posted on the bridge advising pedestrians to be cautious of approaching vehicles.

Davidson says he’s hoping this leads to increased dialogue about bicycle safety education.

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