Dickens would have certainly been intrigued by the current climate in Ocean View.
As for the best of times, the town is doing its part to improve safety conditions for area bicyclists this summer — many of whom happen to be foreign workers who have only one way to get to and from work.
Ocean View police have been working with the University of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Transportation recently in holding checkpoints where officials handed out helmets, fixed reflectors and lights to bikes and dispersed educational information. Out of 210 riders reached at the last two checkpoints, Ocean View Chief of Police Ken McLaughlin estimated that 90 percent were international students.
That’s reaching a significant amount of our summer workforce in helping with their safety. However, there’s still work to be done.
The day after the second checkpoint was held, a young Russian woman riding her bike was struck by a car at the intersection of Route 26 and Woodland Avenue. The woman was not injured fatally, but McLaughlin saw the reality of the situation.
“What we’ve recognized is that there was a huge potential for there to be a fatal accident,” said McLaughlin. “There are so many close calls. We wanted to be a little proactive.”
McLaughlin said the department hopes to increase the checkpoints in the future, and educate more bicyclists on proper techniques and precautions. That is a town official doing his part, and the town of Ocean View should be proud.
On the flip side, acrimony fills the Ocean View Town Council right now.
Councilman Bill Wichmann is feeling heat right now following news that fellow council member Roy Thomas intends to censure Wichmann, and allegations that Wichmann made threatening comments to Ocean View Town Manager Kathy Roth.
Mayor Gary Meredith said the censuring would be “a slap on the wrist” for Wichmann and a “public humiliation” for the town. This would be on the side of the worst of times for the town.
The town needs to take as extreme an action as is allowed if the allegations are found to be true, and move on to where they can do real work for the town’s residents.