A woman running along a Rogers sidewalk part of the Razorback Greenway was hit by a car and died Wednesday night.
Jennifer Bikel, 40, of Rogers was hit outside the Village on the Creeks shopping center on 52nd Street, according to a police news release. Bikel was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at Mercy Medical Center, according to the release. Records from the Rogers Fire Department note a pedestrian accident at location. First responders were called about 6:20 p.m.
Sidewalks should be between 5 and 6 feet at minimum, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. If sidewalks are next to moving traffic the sidewalk should be 8 feet minimum to provide a traffic buffer. Federal guidance states a 60-inch sidewalk is appropriate for residential neighborhoods as a minimum width.
Source: Staff report
Joseph Farnan, 53, of Rogers was turning right from the shopping center in a 2014 GMC Sierra when he hit Bikel, according to police. Farnan told police he checked for traffic heading south and saw it was clear. Bikel was on the sidewalk and was hit by Farnan's vehicle, according to police.
Mike Rush, owner of Rush Running, said the accident is a call to awareness for motorists. He advocates for runners to wear reflective clothing and headlamps, but says runners often have close calls with cars when drivers aren't paying attention.
"I can't tell you how many times our running group has been run off the roads by people who never even saw us. It's way too close to home," Rush said.
A post by the shop's social media account drew hundreds of comments Thursday afternoon.
The running and biking population is growing in Northwest Arkansas, Rush said. About 350 people run with his Bentonville training group on Saturday and Northwest Arkansas races are growing.
Any intersection, any crosswalk can be hazardous and drivers need to be aware of more than just other cars, he said.
Sunset was at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday in Rogers, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Bikel was wearing a beanie with a flashing light and a headlamp at the time of the incident, police said, although Thursday afternoon they didn't know if the headlamp was on. Police didn't provide a speed of the vehicle, but said Farnan's turn out of the shopping center was sharp. A final report isn't complete, police said.
No citations have been issued and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.
The segment of trail Bikel was on is scheduled to be moved. A half-mile section of new trail will cut behind the busy 52nd Street entrance to Village on the Creeks and put a trail signal across Stoney Brook Road, said Nathan Becknell, project engineer with Rogers.
The $1.3 million project to add a bridge and run the trail through the middle of the shopping center instead of using the sidewalk began in November 2014, Becknell said. The city finished gathering right of way for the trail last week.
The greenway was first built using sidewalks to connect sections, Becknell said. A second bridge project is planned to allow pedestrians to travel from where the trail crosses under an entrance ramp for Interstate 49 and access the shopping center instead of following New Hope Road.
Both projects are likely to be bid in February, Becknell said. The replacement for the 52nd Street sidewalks is contingent on a Walton Family Foundation grant.
Rogers Mayor Greg Hines mourned Bikel's death.
"All of us worry about that every day when we let our kids walk on sidewalks," Hines said. "There's a level of awareness that needs to be out there for those driving our streets."
NW News on 02/05/2016
Print Headline: Runner dies on greenway