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A Tragedy That I Hope Others Might Learn From.

Monday, April 30, 2012

last weekend, one of our drivers hit a teenager. though airllifted to the hospital, the young man died of head injuries the next day. he was only 15 years old.

the teen was in the middle of a 4 lane highway in a very dark section maybe a 1/4 mile from the intersection, wearing black, black bike, no lights, no reflectors, no helmet.

the driver was on the inside passing lane as he was about to go into the left hand turn lane. he didn't even remotely see the kid.

of course, there's an investigation. they found the driver did nothing wrong. he was going slower than the speed limit, his attention wasn't being diverted by talking on a cell phone or doing anything else. of course, drugs or alcohol weren't a factor.

though, there is a suspicion that the kid had drugs and/or alcohol in his system. we live in a small town and lots of the local teens said he was out drinking. unfortunately a toxicology report takes months to get.

but, impaired or not, the big issue is, he was head to toe in black and in a place you would never expect a bike rider to be.

it's a big problem here and i'm sure everywhere. people wander around in the dark all dressed in black. often as not, they are wearing their ipods and can't hear anything. we have very few sidewalks and alot of dark roads with no streetlights. all the time, you are driving along and all of a sudden there's someone a foot away from your side mirror and you didn't see them at all. the only surprise is that more people haven't been hit in this town.

our hearts are broken at being involved in this tragedy and our driver is off work for ptsd and getting counselling. he looks awful. he can't sleep. this has caused so much unnecessary pain for the boy's family, friends and all involved.

we don't really know what to do. sorry just doesn't cut it. we are looking into how to start a walk/ride safe program, and hopefully it will make these young people think when they are out at night.

there's not much else i can say about it. but, i needed to get it out. it's been a very long stressful week.

parents--make sure your kids have lights on their bikes and wear something bright at night, and wear their helmets. night walkers/riders be responsible and make sure drivers can see you. when something happens to you, it's not just your life that's affected, but, your family's, friends' and countless others who have never even met you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    so sad ... I remember when those reflective orange clothes were not even invented ... nowadays there is just no excuse ... they are available everywhere ... even the reflective tape to put on helmets and on the bikes .... will keep everyone in our prayers. Roc
    2672 days ago
    How sad. I live in Western Oregon where it rains a lot and we are a town that encourages bike riding - In the darkening hours (sometimes 4 pm & later and up to 8:30 or so Am when the weather is bad) So many people, mostly young people, but not always ride their bikes in the narrow bike lanes and don't always stay there and it's so scary to be driving down those streets. There have been a number of people hit, some killed because of that. And of course they wear dark colors and have no lights, makes it SO hard to see them.

    Unfortunately, especially the younger ones think they're indestructible and think because they can see, everyone can see them... And all these young ones (high school age) like these dark "gothic" colors, you just do not see them. I used to get off work at 5:30 and had to drive a route where they were a lot - from their after school activities, football practice, etc. It was soooo scary.

    I'm so sorry for everyone involved, such a sad turn of events...
    2672 days ago
    I reiterate what others have written - while it doesn't mitigate the immediate emotions of the situation - having others learn from it can ultimately bring some feelings of the tragedy not being completely without purpose.

    It can happen anywhere - I live on a tree lined residential avenue, because the trees completely overhang the street, street level is very dark in summer, like a tunnel. People, bikes and dogs are almost invisible.

    Reflective adjustable arm/leg bands are available for about a $1 that are very visible at night - can be worn over any clothing. Just wear something that lets others know you are there.

    2672 days ago
    This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved. My heart goes out to you and to all the people involved. Helping others learn from it is probably the best way to deal with it and make sense of it all. I will certainly have my teenage daughter read your blog to help her be more aware of what can happen. There are so many reflective products on the market to increase visibility. I often see bicycle and horseback riders ride on the wrong side of the road without reflectors/lights and being distracted by music/phone is dangerous even for pedestrians.
    Thank you for sharing.
    2672 days ago
    This is a problem everywhere. When hubby and I rode bikes back in the day we always wore bright colors so cars would see us.And we did not ride at night. I have no doubt the driver is devastated. I am sure everyone is emoticon
    2672 days ago
    So sad. I am so sorry for the loss and also sorry for the driver that has to live with this.
    So many of these tragedies can be prevented.
    Just read this morning where two 13 year old girls fell asleep sunbathing IN THE ROAD(!) and were both run over by the brother of one of the young ladies.
    My goodness!
    Where is the common sense and good judgement!
    Thank you for sharing the story and yes...
    I hope people will learn from it. Will share it with their children. And be vigilant about 'situational awareness'...It is a must!
    2672 days ago
  • NCSUE0514
    I'm so sorry for everyone in this situation. The driver & the families must be devastated.
    2672 days ago
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