Employers pass the hat for injured student

Ocean View Deli and Restaurant employee Dzmitry Fedarkevich is recovering and in stable condition following the July 15 hit-and-run that threw him from his bicycle and into the hospital with a hip injury and head trauma.

It may be a while before Fedarkevich is back on his feet, though.

According to restaurant owner John Walker, doctors at Christiana Hospital had reported no complications from the head trauma following the routine CT scan, but impact with the bike seat had caused serious trauma to Fedarkevich’s hip.

He said there was some question as to when the young man would be able to walk again — and whether or not he’d regain full dexterity.

Walker has set a plastic jug on the counter at the Ocean View Deli, and patrons have started chipping in to help defray Fedarkevich’s hospitalization expenses.

In addition, the incident has spurred an initiative to educate and provide bike safety-related equipment, particularly for the area’s population of foreign student workers.

Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said it might be too late to translate and distribute bike safety information this season. However, he said he planned to sit down with representatives from the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and the state’s Office of Highway Safety in the coming months, and start organizing on some kind of program to have in place for next spring.

As McLaughlin pointed out, working out the translations would be no mean feat – even among Fedarkevich’s housemates, he said, not everyone spoke the same language.

There may be another hurdle to overcome, in the perception that there is no bike safety problem.

According to Elena Pavlovskaya, one of Fedarkevich’s co-workers and housemates (they’re also classmates at Belarussian State University, studying law), it is a lot safer on the roadways here in the U.S. than back in Belarus.

There, most drivers are younger, Pavlovskaya said. Here, motorists of greater maturity tended to balance out and moderate the younger and more impatient drivers. “They drive slower, pay more attention,” she pointed out.

In addition, she said, there is very seldom a painted strip to distinguish roadway from bike lane in Belarus.

There’s still room for improvement in Delaware, though, and McLaughlin said they’d be working to garner some helmets and lights for cyclists — maybe even reflective vests.

“I think there’s an obligation on the part of these folks in the business community who rely on these kids during the summer months,” he said. “They have a big stake in this. So, hopefully, we’ll be able to get some help there as well.”