A 14-year-old New Haven resident was struck by a car and killed while on his bicycle early Saturday morning in Fair Haven.
Keyshawn Moore, who was identified as the victim by New Haven Police Spokesman Joseph Avery, was pronounced dead at approximately at 12:43 a.m. at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Reports of the accident indicate that the snow piles along the side of the street forced Moore to ride in the middle of the road, putting him in the way of the speeding vehicle. As of Monday night, the NHPD was still looking for information regarding the driver of the car, a dark colored four-door that is possibly an SUV.
This weekend’s hit-and-run is not an isolated incident.
Another 14-year-old cyclist was struck by a pickup truck at the intersection of East Street and Humphrey Street at 3:50 p.m. on Dec. 1, according to Avery. The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Biker safety and biking infrastructure changes have been on City Hall’s agenda for several years, said Matthew Feiner, the owner and operator of The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop on Orange Street and member of the board of directors of the nonprofit advocacy group Elm City Cycling.
Top city officials have also acknowledged that New Haven bikers face a safety problem.
“As someone who bikes in New Haven, the biggest challenge to biking in this city is very aggressive motor vehicle operators,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. in December. He added that holding motor vehicle operators accountable for overly aggressive behavior is a major goal for the City.
According to WTNH, the Saturday accident happened after Moore drifted into the street because the snow had narrowed the road. New Haven law requires that residents shovel their own sidewalks, but over two feet of snow remains piled along the sides of many roads in the wake of plows.
Although the decreased street area does not affect motor vehicles significantly, bicyclists may find their capacity to ride along the shoulder limited.
One suggestion that bike-advocates have proposed for the problem of narrow shoulders is to give bikes the same right-of-way on main streets.
New Haven has 12 bicycle-car shared roads and is looking to add more, Feiner said. Shared roads are preferable to a separate bicycle lane, he added, because it shows both the biker and the driver that the road is for everyone and that bikes need not be sequestered along the side.
“I don’t feel comfortable riding my bike in the street with all of this snow,” Jimmy Murphy ’13 said. “The roads are narrower now, and it’s particularly bad on smaller one-way streets.”
Murphy said he rode his bicycle once since last Wednesday’s major snowfall, but after his experience, he does not plan on bicycling again until the snow melts away. He added that, in addition to the snow causing the roads to narrow, it also forces parked cars further away from the curb, which does not leave him sufficient space on most roads.
The car responsible for Saturday’s hit-and-run was last seen on Front Street speeding away from the accident.