Cyclists' Deaths Spur Tensions On Seacoast

Sep 22, 2013

Credit By Porro, Creative Commons, Flickr
  Drivers and cyclists aren’t always happy to share the road. After two cyclists died in a fatal car accident on Saturday morning in Hampton, tensions between those on two wheels and four -- have heated up. 

When Krystle Crossman, who lives in Manchester, first saw that two cyclists had died after being struck by a car in Hampton, her instinct was to blame them. She says "because when there are in large groups like that because of roadraces and such, they tend to go four or five abreast, instead of one or two."  

Now, Crossman says, she doesn't think the cyclists were to blame. Hampton police say a nineteen-year old driver, going Southbound across the Underwood Bridge on Ocean Boulevard in Hampton veered into the Northbound lane, hitting four cyclists, and killing two: Pamela Wells, 60, of South Hamilton, MA, and Elise Bouchard, 52, of Danvers, MA. The four cyclists were participating in the 40th annual Tri-state Seacoast Century. 

Cyclist Marta Downing works at the popular Portsmouth bike shop, Papa Wheelies.  She says bicyclists and drivers can both do more to be safe on the roads. She’s not surprised people are pointing fingers, but she’s not happy, either.  "Of course," she says, "I'm disappointed as a cyclist and a passionate cyclist when the victim is --  somehow it was their fault that they got hit by a car."

The organizers of the ride, Granite State Wheelman, didn't request permits to close roads for the event. Around town, however, people have suggested they should have.  To that, Downing says "Absolutely not. It's the 40th anniversary of the ride, it's a recreational ride, it's not a race.  It's a weekend so less people are gonna be running off to work, I don’t think we need to close these roads.  We need to share them."

The Hampton Police are continuing to collect information about Saturday’s fatal crash. The driver involved has not yet been charged.

Correction: The age of Darriean Hess has been updated to reflect new information.