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Driver in Fatal Bicycle Accident Said Sun's Glare Played a Factor

The accident last Thursday took the life of 42-year-old Middletown resident Michael Strickland.

The driver involved in the near Purgatory Chasm last Thursday said the sun’s glare prevented him from seeing 42-year-old Middletown resident Michael Strickland on his bicycle, police said today.

The accident occurred at approximately 5:35 p.m. that day.

According to the report, the driver, 51-year-old Portsmouth resident Arthur Chapman, was coming up the hill when he saw a truck at the top.

“I had slowed to make the turn at Tuckerman. I accelerated to take the turn and was hit by the bike. I never saw him. The sun was directly in my eyes; I was traveling no more than 15 mph," Chapman reportedly told police.

A witness walking his dog in the area at the time of the accident told police the cyclist, Strickland, was traveling fast down the hill towards the beach when it collided with Chapman’s car as it was turning onto Tuckerman.  

According to the police report, Strickland was then ejected from his seat and came into contact with the front windshield of Chapman’s vehicle.  Strickland then fell from the vehicle and landed on the pavement.  

Chief Ron Doire said the department was at the scene within three minutes. The department transported Strickland to Newport Hospital, and from there he was later transfered to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they did not perform drug or alcohol tests in their investigation.

M Ryan April 08, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Sounds pretty fishy. It's a blind curve and people tend to whip through it to get onto Tuckerman. Not buying that the sun was in the driver's eyes at 5:30ish EDT. Maybe in late February a bit more west on Purgatory after the St. George's rink you could claim there was a sun flare, but the driver's story sounds completely implausible. If he had been almost stopped as he claims he would have seen the cyclist.
Dani April 11, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I run this route often and have travelled in both directions, coming both up the hill and rounding that corner, at this time of day. This type of situation is ALWAYS on my mind concerning where a cyclist or runner should be (you have to go on the grass to be safe) because the glare combined with the hill and the turns create a very dangerous scenario. It is a tragedy for all involved and my heart goes out to both families.
Neil Ansucket April 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I bet he didn't use his blinker, like most people around here. Sun is in your eyes??? Pull the visor down. This could have been avoided. This man killed a man, and is still driving on our roads. I lost my license for much less. Maybe it's who you know. So use your blinker.
Joe Santiago April 28, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Very sad but it could have been prevented. In my case I just got tiered of having to raise my hand to block the sun glare, just to see where I was going. After a few close calls I decided I needed some sort of sun shield that can provide 100% blocking against direct sunlight or glare. Check this site out http://www.glare-shields.com

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