Not possible to address issues without records
The following letter was sent to Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.
I am writing to you as a result of a collision between a pickup truck with me on my bicycle at approximately 10:30 on Aug. 8, and my concern about reporting such incidents.
As co-chair of the taskforce addressing problems on Route One, I would like to be sure that you are aware of an issue of reporting incidents involving bicycles/motor vehicles. Ironically, the day following your meeting at the Rehoboth Convention Center, I was struck by a pickup truck as I was biking along Route One at the entrance to Old Inlet Bait and Tackle. Fortunately, I was not seriously hurt and a Good Samaritan helped me up and then got his first aide kit out of his vehicle and cleaned up my bloodied arm/leg.
Had I not seen the truck out of the corner of my vision and slammed on my brakes just as the truck made impact with me, the result may have been fatal. As it was, I was able to get up off the roadway/bike lane with minor assistance. However, the concern I have goes beyond why the driver of this truck felt the need to dash to get in front of me in order to turn into Old Inlet Bait and Tackle.
The issue is the reporting. I was not badly enough hurt that I wanted to waste precious police time to have them come to the scene of the accident. Therefore, I proceeded to return to my home where I attempted to notify someone about the incident - for without reporting there is no way to know there is a problem. I got out my phone directory and looked up then non-emergency number for the Delaware State Police for Sussex County.
I found out that this listing was only for the Georgetown area. I was given the number for Troop 7 which I called only to find out that they did not record bicycle/motor vehicle incidents unless it was a hospitalization. I was given the number for their office in Dover in case they recorded such information; however, that person was not available so I left a voice mail with my message so there would be a record.
Still feeling uncomfortable that no record would be made, I called to the city of Rehoboth to determine if they knew who to speak with based on the previous night's meeting dealing with House Resolution 22. The individaul I reached did not know about the meeting and asked if I was aware of who was involved. I stated that you were the co-chair and then asked if they had your phone number. After checking, they came up with your number in Dover. I called that number only to find that your aide was not available.
After a brief delay the person answering the call took my message. The long and short of my concerns is that there does not appear to be a system for reporting or even being aware of such incidents on Route One (or anywhere in the State of Delaware perhaps). My question is simple, if we do not have any records of incidents, how is it possible to address them?
While the above issue may have been raised at your meeting, it is important to be sure since I could not conclude that anyone inolved in an similar situation would meet with any more success than I did. Hopefully I wil not have such an experience on Route One again, but if that shoud occur, I assure you that I will call 911 even if it means that the state police must respond. Something is wrong here!
Charles L. Atlkinson