LEWISTON — A Lewiston High School student bicycling to school Monday was injured when he was struck by a vehicle, Lewiston police said Tuesday.

The 15-year-old bicyclist was in the area of 203 Webster St. at 7:34 a.m. when he crossed the road diagonally into the path of a vehicle driven by Ashley Morrissette, 24, of Lewiston, police Lt. David St. Pierre said.

The cyclist was at fault, police said, because he didn’t cross the street correctly.

“He crossed over into oncoming traffic,” St. Pierre said. “Bicyclists have to abide by the same traffic rules as motorists.”

The student was taken by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center with a leg injury, police said. He is expected to recover.

The accident happened the same day City Hall hosted a “Make Lewiston Streets Safer” forum, one of several public meetings in response to the recent spike in pedestrian-vehicle crashes.

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One of those crashes happened in November when a Lewiston Middle School student, Jayden Cho-Sargent, was killed after he was hit by a vehicle as he was walking to school.

When it comes to pedestrian and bicycle safety, “Lewiston is moving in the right direction,” Superintendent Bill Webster said. “But we have a long way to go.”

Jim Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine gave a presentation at the meeting. 

The most common cause of pedestrian crashes is a motor vehicle driver who fails to yield, according to Maine Department of Transportation information. The second reason is aggressive driving.

The most common mistakes bicyclists make is riding on the wrong side of the street, facing traffic.  

Bicycles have a right to be on the road, and “should always ride with traffic,” Tasse said. “They should obey stoplights, stop signs and yield signs.”

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If no sidewalk is available, pedestrians should always walk facing traffic so motorists can see them and pedestrians can see the faces of drivers to ensure they are seen, Tasse said.

“They know what’s coming at them,” Tasse said.

Most crashes involving pedestrians happen when they’re walking with their backs toward traffic, statistics show.

If it passes, a bill in the Legislature may help with more safety education.

LD 1130 recently received an ought-to-pass 9-4 vote by the Education Committee. The bill would mandate that students get one hour of basic traffic safety lessons a year starting in grade four, and then every other year after that, Tasse said.


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