Pennsylvania cyclist killed in crash near Bethany Beach

A Pennsylvania woman riding a bicycle was struck and killed on June 21 on Route 1 north of Bethany Beach after she reportedly attempted to cross two traffic lanes.

According to police, Dorothy Brenner, 66 of Pittsburgh, Pa. — who was riding a bicycle northbound on the shoulder of Route 1 northbound — had attempted about 4:40 p.m. last Friday to cross the northbound traffic lanes in a diagonal direction from the shoulder, toward a median crossover, and rode into the path of a vehicle that was traveling northbound in the right lane.

The Delaware State Police reported that that vehicle was able to swerve to the left and avoid Brenner, but that the evasive maneuver it took had forced a panel van in the left-hand northbound lane, operated by a Lewes man, to brake and swerve to the left, where the front of the van struck Brenner and her bicycle in the left lane. Brenner was ejected from the bicycle onto the grass median, where she was later pronounced dead.

The vehicle’s driver, who was properly restrained, was not injured, police noted. Delaware State Police Director of Public Information Sgt. Paul Shavack said Brenner was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The DSP’s preliminary report on the incident said alcohol did not appear to be a factor but that the Delaware State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit was continuing to investigate the crash. One lane each of both northbound and southbound traffic in that area was closed for three hours while the on-site investigation took place last Friday.

“We have a crash reconstruction unit that analyzes the information and reviews the scene and the obvious evidence that was there — where she was struck, skid marks, if there are any,” he explained. “It’s a comprehensive investigation of the roadway, road conditions, everything. They do a comprehensive aggressive investigation to find out the facts and the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Shavack said that, following the conclusion of the investigation, the state police will determine whether or not to file charges against the driver.

“At the conclusion of the investigation would be when the determination of the charges would be. In other cases like these, since we can’t speculate on this case, it depends on what they find.”

Shavack said the State has noticed the increase of bicycle- and pedestrian-related accidents this year and is trying to take steps to inform the public on how they can keep safe.

“We’ve seen a rash of those within the first six months of this year. The Office of Highway Safety has conducted several pedestrian initiatives to make pedestrians aware of where they’re supposed to cross and make drivers aware that pedestrians are out in the roadway, and to be cautious of them also.”

Shavack said that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists should all do their best to be attentive when out on roadways.

“Be on the lookout for each other. In the resort area, there’s an increase of tourists that aren’t familiar with the area and roadways. With the influx of people, there’s an influx of vehicles. So there’s a high amount of vehicles out on the roadway traveling.

“We ask pedestrians to cross at the designated crosswalks with the lights that are there to guide them safely across the roadways. Bicyclists — stay in the bicycle lanes. Stay safe and wear a helmet. Cars should be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists and be attentive.”