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Video: When separate infrastructure isn't enough - cyclist hit by SUV on footbridge

But Virginia Department of Transportation says staff allowed to drive on pedestrian and cyclist facility

Separate infrastructure is not always enough to protect cyclists and pedestrians from injury, as this video from the United States shows, with a bike rider struck head-on by a vehicle while riding across a footbridge – although it transpires the driver may actually have been permitted to use the segregated path.

Cyclist Kelley Howells escaped serious injury as she rode on a caged-off pedestrian and cycle path running alongside the Berkley Bridge in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday when she was struck by an SUV travelling in the opposite direction.

Ms Howell, who suffered cuts and bruises in the incident, told WVEC-TV: “I saw this vehicle. Oh, my God. Brake. Scream. When I realised I was hitting him, there was no way to stop it.”

She said that the driver was unable to explain why he was there, and when she tried to present video evidence to a police officer, he was unimpressed.

“I said, ‘I have video if you want to see,’ and he said, ‘Oh, why do you have video?’ And I explained that I use it to educate, and he said, ‘Oh maybe you were the person who caused the accident’.”

She was also told police were unable to investigate the incident because an officer had not been called to the scene at the time, though neither the driver nor the cyclist had a mobile phone with them.

Ms Howell said: “[Norfolk] wants to be a bike-friendly community. It’s hard to see how if they have police officers who don’t feel the need to investigate motorists driving on pedestrian bridges.”

Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) confirmed that one of its contract employees has been put on administrative leave while they investigate the incident.

In a statement it said its employees are permitted to drive on the pedestrian path, and there are signs warning people on foot and bikes that its vehicles may be present.

A spokeswoman said: “VDOT is working with its contractor to determine the factors involved in the incident and to ensure that proper policy and procedures were followed.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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