Fatal Crash on Freeport Road Highlights How Dangerous PennDOT Roads are for Allegheny County Bicyclists

Photo taken from WPXI

13 of the last 17 bicyclist fatalities  in Allegheny County were on PennDOT-owned roads

Since 2002, there have been seventeen fatal crashes in Allegheny County involving a person on a bike. Thirteen of those have been on PennDOT-owned roads.

Thomas Haykin was on his way to work on the morning of August 9, when a driver fatally struck him on Freeport Road in Harmar Township, a PennDOT-owned road. According to coverage of the crash he was knocked off of his bike by a driver and was again struck by a second driver. He was biking northbound in the right hand lane when the crash occurred.

It shouldn’t take a bicyclist death for PennDOT to design a safe, complete street

The section of Freeport Road where Mr. Haykin was biking is notorious for its poor design and high speeds. This five-lane section of Freeport Road, leaves no space for bikes or pedestrians, despite their presence. Several bus stops also line the road and lack both sidewalks and crosswalks, resulting in “goat paths” in the narrow grassy areas between the curb and guardrail. This section of road also has no shoulders or bike lanes and is the only local road to get through this area.

A common factor in nearly all of the PennDOT roads where bicyclist fatalities have occurred are high speed limits and a lack of space for people on bikes. PennDOT owns roads that go through our communities, and in which people depend on to get to work, go to school, and run daily errands. Our roads should be designed to keep these people safe.

Area of Freeport Road where the crash occurred. No space for bikes or pedestrians and has a posted speed limit of 45mph.

PennDOT: Do the right thing

For a road like Freeport Rd, there are no alternatives or other safe routes for bicyclists. With marked speed limits that vary between 35-45mph on this stretch, bicyclists and pedestrians are effectively excluded.

It’s time to recognize that residents depend on these roads, no matter how they choose to get around. PennDOT needs to prioritize safety and livability over speed, and make sure all road users, and not just cars and “level of service” are accommodated. People’s lives depend on it.

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