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City officials are looking for solutions to an intersection that was the scene of two bike accidents within days of each other.
The intersection in question is at Royle and Shotwell streets.
Resident A.J. Phipps brought up the matter at a city council meeting last month. Phipps urged council members then, and again last night, to make the intersection a four-way stop. Currently, there are stop signs for travelers along Shotwell, but not Royle.
Both accidents involved children riding their bikes through the intersection. Richmond Police Chief Terri McWilliams said in both instances neither child stopped at the intersection. In one case, the car hit the child and in the other case the child broadsided a vehicle. McWilliams said police officers have problems from time to time with children not obeying street laws when riding their bikes. She said once a year the department holds a bike safety seminar that is not well attended and that officers sometimes stop children to remind them.
“The kids have to learn that if they’re going to ride their bikes on the streets they’re going to have to stop at the stop signs,” McWilliams said Wednesday night at the council meeting. “We try to get kids to come to that. We don’t get a huge turnout.”
McWilliams said that making the intersection a four-way stop wouldn’t solve the problem but might actually create some other safety issues in the winter when roads are icy and slick. Travelers on Royle Street must descend a hill before going around a curve making stopping or starting from the other way difficult.
“You’re going to have some serious problems getting cars stopped and started when it’s icy,” she said. “If they did get stopped they may be in the ditch.”
She also added that the intersection view is still difficult whether stopped or not and would not make much of a difference.
The city may consider installing signs that warn drivers of the dangers as the approach the intersection. Phipps agreed that signs may work but said something must be done to prevent any future accidents that may or may not happen.
“There hasn’t been any accidents there previously and there may not be one again for years, but at the same time it could happen again,” Phipps said. “The third time we might not be as lucky as the other two.”
In both cases the children were released from the hospital the same day according to McWilliams.