INDEPENDENCE, Ky. — A 13-year-old was hospitalized after being struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle late Wednesday afternoon, police say.
According to Kenton County Police Sgt. Ben Wilson, officers responded to the 3500 block of Mills Road near Middleton-Mills Park in Independence after receiving reports that a vehicle had struck a cyclist.
Wilson said a motorist was driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound when he struck the 13-year-old, also riding westbound, on the shoulder of Mills Road near the entrance to the park.
The driver told police that the glare of the setting sun prevented him from seeing the cyclist initially, Wilson said. Upon observing the bicyclist, the driver swerved sharply to the left in an attempt to avoid a collision, but the cyclist was turning in the same direction.
Wilson said an investigation concluded that the “severe glare from the sun” was the cause of of the collision, and investigators do not suspect drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision.
The child was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, which threw him from his bicycle onto the grass on the north side of the road, Wilson said.
The city of Independence does not have a helmet requirement for cyclists of any age.
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The child, who was riding with his father, was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center via helicopter for moderate injuries, Wilson said. The father was not injured.
This particular stretch of road is a narrow, two-lane span with no shoulders and no bike lanes.
According to the most recent data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 2 out of every 3 vehicle-bicycle collisions across the U.S. occurred on highways similar to Mills Road, characterized as a narrow, two-lane road with no shoulder.
The commonwealth of Kentucky does not have a safe-passing law for bicyclists, nor do any Northern Kentucky cities, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recommends motorists leave a 3-foot cushion between their vehicles and bicycles on the road.
Police did not release the identity of the cyclist. Investigators did not find charges were warranted in the case.