May 22, 2020 (PORTLAND, Maine) – The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is disheartened to learn of the fourth vulnerable user fatality on Maine roads in 2020. There have been three pedestrian fatalities already this year; this is the first fatal crash involving a bicyclist. Vulnerable users are legally allowed to be present on Maine’s roadways in all conditions and times of the day.
A female bicyclist was struck and killed on U.S. Route 2 about 1.25 miles west of McDonald’s in Rumford, Maine on Thursday morning, May 21. The bicyclist was struck by Alger M. Aleck, 37, of Mexico who was operating a 2006 Honda Accord under the influence of drugs, according to reports. Aleck was arrested on charges of manslaughter and criminal operating of a motor vehicle under the influence and was taken to the Oxford County Jail in Paris where bail was set at $15,000 cash.
“This is a tragedy and my heart goes out to the victim’s family…With temperatures on the rise and a holiday weekend approaching, more and more pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles will be sharing the roads. Motorists should remain attentive and drive with due care to avoid further tragedies,” said police Chief Tony Milligan.
Bicycle Coalition executive director Jean Sideris echoed Chief Milligan’s comments. “It is imperative that drivers operate motor vehicles without distraction and obey local speed limits. As a result of COVID-19, there are more pedestrians and bicyclists on Maine roads than ever and everyone has the right to use Maine’s roads safely. It is alarming to learn that despite the 50% drop in vehicular traffic on roads across the country that crashes are up 14%. This is an alarming trend that we hope will not continue in Maine throughout 2020. Reckless driving is simply unacceptable,” she adds.
“We are relieved to learn of the swift action taken by the Rumford Police department to recover evidence and charge Aleck, and we hope this sends a clear message about the repercussions of hitting a vulnerable user,” said Jim Tassé, assistant director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
The Coalition will continue to monitor this case and emphasizes the importance of never driving distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. All users should follow traffic law, and motorists, in particular, are urged to obey speed limits and drive while completely alert and aware in places where there are a greater number of road users present.