Changes being made following deadly bike path crash in Bristol

East Bay

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Change is already happening where Poppasquash Road meets the East Bay Bike Path less than 24 hours after a 6-year-old boy riding his bike was hit and killed by a car.

Crews from the Department of Environmental Management were out Wednesday morning cutting down brush while the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) surveyed the spot.

RIDOT Director Peter Alviti announced on Wednesday his crews would spend the next six months evaluating the safety of every bike path intersection on state roads. 

“I have asked our traffic safety engineers in an abundance of caution to look at over 200 other intersections that we have on our bike path system that cross state roads,”  Alviti said.

Alviti said any additional safety measures they deem necessary will be put into place.

According to RIDOT, Tuesday’s crash was the first bike path fatality on record, though Alviti said there have been five other incidents at the Poppasquash bike path intersection that resulted in non-serious injuries. 

Police Wednesday confirmed the 6-year-old boy who died was from Somerset, but they are not releasing the boy’s name.

According to police, the boy was struck Tuesday as he crossed Poppasquash Road just before 3:30 p.m. while riding a bicycle along the East Bay Bike Path. Witnesses said the boy was with his parents and two sisters. He was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Eyewitness News spoke with the police captain in charge of the investigation who said while investigators are awaiting complete results from the accident reconstruction team, they do not anticipate charges against the driver, a 21-year-old woman from Canton, Conn.

According to police, the young boy was wearing a helmet when he was hit. Somerset Police Chief George McNeil tells Eyewitness News the boy was recognized for wearing his helmet while on his bike by the department the day before the fatal crash.

“On Monday afternoon, one of our lieutenants was on his way to work saw this young man with his dad riding in Prospect Street right in back of the police station here both wearing helmets,” said McNeil, who explained the lieutenant awarded the boy with a $5 gift certificate to a local ice cream shop.  

The incident remains under investigation by Bristol Police and the Rhode Island State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit.

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