According to the Chester County Daily Local, 64 Year Old Michael Hackman was struck from behind and killed by a driver on Providence Road near the Radnor Hunt Club in Willistown Township Chester County on Saturday. Michael was the fourth person on a bicycle killed in the region in the past 30 days.
Michael’s resume reflects a lifetime of community service. Most notably he directed a ten year plan to end homelessness in Chester County. Chester County Commissioners issued a statement reading “He worked tirelessly in our Department of Community Development to end chronic homelessness through the Decades to Doorways program. Our deepest condolences are with his family, his friends and co-workers, and the many people who are no longer homeless because of his passion and dedication.”
We don’t know why the driver struck Michael from behind nor do we know if charges have been filed. Striking a bicyclist from behind should bring charges of violating of the State’s four foot passing law. What we know for sure is that the 45 mile per hour speed limit on Providence Road is lethal for vulnerable road users. With poor sight lines and a total road width of just 21 feet it’s miraculous that tragedies like this don’t happen more often. According to DVRPC, the Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) on Providence Rd is about 4,000 vehicles per day. Using Cornell’s 15 minute traffic volume formula that averages about 8 cars passing by every minute during rush hour.
PennDOT has hundreds of miles of semi-rural roads like this in the outer suburbs. These narrow roads minimize the asphalt footprint of the landscape but traffic volumes on these once quiet roads have increased exponentially by suburban sprawl. PennDOT, to its credit, has established a goal of reducing traffic deaths by 50% by 2030. The state and the region need to solve the bike and pedestrian access issues in these communities if we ever really want to reach the goal of zero traffic deaths.
Our deepest sympathies go out Michael Hackman’s family and friends. The Facebook page of our affiliate, Bike Chester County, will be updated with additional information as it emerges.