Some want River Road widened after deadly hit-and-run

Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-07 19:35:53-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - One week after a tragic hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a 24-year-old bicyclist, several people are calling for changes to Richmond and Henrico’s heavily traveled River Road.

“River Road looks like a quaint, beautiful rural road,” says avid cyclist and safety advocate Eric Martin. “But it’s here in an urban setting, with urban traffic and urban urgency.”

An average of 30,000 vehicles travel on River Road on a typical work day.

Bruce Tyler says he’s received calls from concerned constituents in Richmond’s 1st District.

“Folks are genuinely concerned,” says Tyler. “This is an accident that should have never happened.”

While VDOT crews are constructing a new Huguenot Bridge that will have room for bicyclists, Tyler says changing the infrastructure of River Road would be very difficult.

“You could end up with a roadway that is 30-some feet wide and it would completely change the character of that community.”

Tyler says widening River Road would also require removing telephone poles, trees and landscaping as well as adding ditches and drains for irrigation.

However, Tyler says city leaders need to start a conversation about safety, and improving Richmond’s roadways to accommodate the growing number of bicyclists on the road.

Eric Martin, who rides with the Richmond Area Bicycling Association, says he’d like to see a network of recommended bike routes to help cyclists navigate the city.

Several cyclists are also pushing for legislation that would require a 3-foot passing distance between cars and bicyclists. Currently Virginia law just requires two feet.

Nearly a hundred bikers, who turned out Sunday night to ride in honor Lanie Kruszewski, say they’d like to call the legislation “Lanie’s Law.”