‘Bike to Work Week’ comes on heels of two deadly bicycle accidents in Virginia Beach

Posted at 8:35 PM, May 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-11 20:35:03-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Over the weekend, two bike riders were killed in separate accidents.  The deadly crashes came just before National Bike to Work Week, which runs May 11 - 15.

In the first crash, a bicyclist was killed Saturday night after colliding with a car on Northampton Blvd. and Baker Rd.  According to police, the bike rider crossed Baker Rd. against the traffic light and was hit.

Sunday afternoon another rider died.  Police say the bicyclist was on Virginia Beach Blvd. near N. Great Neck Rd. when he maneuvered through turning cars and crossed four lanes of traffic into the path of a car.

City officials say they have been working to make the city more biker friendly in recent years, but a lot of the responsibility to stay safe lies with bicyclists and drivers.

In Virginia Beach, bicyclists can ride on city streets and on most sidewalks.  The only exceptions to riding on sidewalks are in the resort area at the Oceanfront and in Town Center.

"For anyone riding a bike on the road, the rules are simple.  You're supposed to behave as if you're a car.  You have the same rights and duties as if you're a motorist, and then if you ride on shared-use path or a sidewalk, the rules are the same as if you're a pedestrian: stop, you look, you listen and then you go when it's safe," said Wayne Wilcox, senior planner with the city's Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

To make riding more enjoyable and safer, the city has also taken some steps.  A few years ago, they made big improvements for bikers on Shore Dr.

"That has been a win-win for everybody.  The bikes are able to get into a more safe corridor and the cars can get past quite easily," said Wilcox.

A similar plan is now in the works for another stretch of that road.

The city will be adding paved shoulders for bikers on Shore Dr. from Diamond Springs Rd. to Greenwell Rd.

The project will be put out to bid in the next few months and construction could begin this fall.