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Hanover Considers Bike Safety After Cyclist Strikes, Kills Woman

  • A bicyclist rides on Allen Street from South Main Street in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 27, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth student Michael Everett walks his bike on the sidewalk along South Main Street in Hanover, N.H. on Oct. 27, 2017. Everett says he often bikes around campus but usually not downtown because he feels with the traffic walking is as fast. Everett has seen problems with cars and pedestrians in town especially during rush hour. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A bicyclist rides down the sidewalk in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 27, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lucy Bailey poses for a photo during a birthday party for a fellow Kendal at Hanover resident in 2016



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hanover — Lucile “Lucy” Bailey, the 91-year-old Kendal at Hanover resident who died after being struck by a bicycle on Sunday, was a veteran schoolteacher and an avid cyclist whose love for two-wheeled travel took her and her late husband, George, across the globe, her daughter said on Friday.

Bailey was walking along Lyme Road near the retirement community late Sunday afternoon when a cyclist struck her. She died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Monday.

Her daughter, Rebecca Bailey, of South Strafford, noted the tragedy in the circumstances of her mother’s death, given that Lucy Bailey had spent decades biking across France, Italy and China — a passion that she maintained into her 80s and has passed on to her children.

“That was part of the family culture,” Rebecca Bailey said in a telephone interview on Friday, recalling family trips where her parents and their six children would load “a comical number” of bikes onto their car.

She added that she believed her mother’s death should be an opportunity to start a conversation about transportation safety in town and educate pedestrians and cyclists.

Even at 91, Bailey “was very determined to be safe and mobile,” Rebecca Bailey said. “She didn’t take chances.”

In an interview on Friday, Hanover Police Capt. Mark Bodanza said Bailey had been on the sidewalk when she was hit, but added that investigators still were unsure where the cyclist had been.

No finding of fault has been made and no charges filed against the bike rider, a 27-year-old man from Hanover whom Bodanza declined to name.

Meanwhile, residents and town officials are taking steps to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

“We were saddened by this death,” Town Manager Julia Griffin said in an email on Friday.

Griffin said town officials until now had focused more on downtown sidewalks where students are apt to ride, rather than on that out-of-town section of Lyme Road, otherwise known as Route 10, which boasts an “amply wide” on-road bicycle lane.

“We are working on a townwide email alert ... that reinforces the fact that no one over age 12 should be riding their bicycle on the sidewalk,” she said. “If they must be on the sidewalk, they need to dismount and walk their bicycle.”

The town manager also expressed concern about cyclists’ adherence to the rules of the road.

“By and large, many bike riders do not bother to become acquainted with bicycle laws in the state (of New Hampshire), nor do most drivers,” Griffin said, perhaps referring to state law that prohibits riding bikes on sidewalks. “We will be talking in the future about how to introduce more comprehensive bicycle ridership training in the community, coupled with urging drivers to familiarize themselves with the laws regarding bicyclists.”

Griffin said town officials also were having discussions about increased enforcement of bike laws and local ordinances, as well as the possible addition of signage.

Stu Trembly, an associate professor of engineering at Dartmouth College, noted that bike riders have their own risks to deal with, and said Hanover pedestrians on sidewalks sometimes find themselves dodging other kinds of wheeled vehicles — skateboards, for instance.

Standing on the South Main Street sidewalk on Friday, Trembly said skateboarders sometimes appeared “oblivious” to their surroundings while traveling down the stretch and said he was worried that “some poor person could step out of a store and get hit.”

In the spirit of increasing transportation safety around town, Trembly recommended that motorists adopt the so-called “Dutch reach” — a way for drivers to avoid dooring cyclists when getting out of their cars.

The technique involves reaching across one’s body with one’s opposite hand in order to open the door. For a driver exiting a car in the United States, that would mean using one’s right hand, which forces the driver to twist and look backward to see oncoming cyclists.

In Friday’s interview, Rebecca Bailey remembered her mother as an active woman in both body and mind, a person who cycled across pre-industrial rural China and knew how to tell a wry, dry joke in the style of Calvin Trillin, a reporter and humorist with The New Yorker.

When Lucy Bailey, who taught school for 23 years in Sharon, Mass., decided to move up to Kendal in 2013, she quipped to her children, “They can address all my stages of decline.”

“A remark she said would sort of implode because you’d think about it later,” Rebecca Bailey said. “She’d make a joke that would really kind of last.”

Despite the humor, Bailey had been “very happy” at Kendal, her daughter said. “She saw that she could remain independent there.”

Bailey, whose maiden name was Duff, was born on June 6, 1926, in Chicago to T. Allen Duff and Lillian Ryan Duff.

She met her future husband, George Bailey, while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in political science.

They married in 1948 and moved to Sharon, Mass., where Bailey taught elementary school for 23 years. Third-graders were her favorite, according to Rebecca.

George, who worked in information storage during the early days of computing, died in 2009.

During her Kendal at Hanover years, Bailey took part in a Shakespeare reading group, continuing education courses at Dartmouth, and a religious study group. She also wrote for the Kendal Times, the community newspaper.

Kayren Morrill, a fellow Kendal resident, knew Bailey from the religious study group and expressed admiration for her connection to her community of four years.

“I liked her a lot,” Morrill said over the phone on Friday. “I liked the way that she could write about what was going on with her and participate in the community the way she did.”

“I think of her often,” Morrill added. “That this should have happened, and that it should have been serious enough to have taken her life — it seems quite a leap.”

Despite the circumstances, Rebecca Bailey said she didn’t want residents to come away with the notion that “bikes are bad.”

“Bikes are good — good for people and communities and the planet,” she said, adding that she occasionally makes the 18-mile ride in to her Dartmouth job from South Strafford. “Communities that are bike- and pedestrian-friendly are the best places to live.”

In their news release, Hanover police asked anyone who witnessed the collision or has more information about it to call the dispatcher at 603-643-2222 and ask for Lt. Scott Rathburn.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.