By Jordan W. Charness
Every few days, I go for a motorcycle ride with a friend of mine. We really just putter along suburban streets in a leisurely fashion to our destination, usually A&W for a root beer in a frosty mug. As required by law for safety reasons, we ride in a staggered formation. My friend usually rides front-left and I will take the back-right position. When we pull up to a red light we come up side-by-side and chat for a moment or two.
This evening was no exception, except that what happened at that red light will stay with me for a very long time. Usually, at every red light, I will turn to him and raise my visor and he will turn towards me and raise his visor so that we can hear each other talk over the sound of our motorcycle engines.
That’s what happened at this red light, but before we could say a word, I heard a large crash and saw a bicycle fly into the air seemingly coming right at us. I immediately thought that a car with a bike rack had come too close to my friends’ motorcycle and hit him sending the bicycle off the rack into the air. In the next second I realized that the bicycle was not going to hit us.
My friend looked down to his left and saw a 12-year-old kid on the street bleeding from his head and arms with his mangled bicycle nearby.
We immediately got off our bikes and stopped traffic. My friend called 911. Within moments, bystanders had stopped their cars and ran to offer assistance. One lady, a registered nurse, took charge of the boy making sure that he did not move his head or injure his neck while another man who was a first responder brought a first aid kit to see what he could do. I asked the kid questions to help keep him calm and to try to see whether he had suffered a concussion. Fortunately his answers were clear and precise even though he appeared to be in shock.
At the same time, I noticed a lady lying on the sidewalk hugging herself crying hysterically, “I didn’t see him! I didn’t see him!” She was the driver of the car that had hit the boy on the bicycle. Several bystanders tried to calm her down and assure her that the boy was alive and would probably be alright.
In short order, two police cars, two fire trucks, and an ambulance pulled up. The firemen and the ambulance attendants tended to the boy and the hysterical driver. The police blocked the road and tried to ascertain what had happened.
Even though the accident happened in front of us, neither my friend nor I actually saw it happen. We only witnessed the immediate aftermath since at the actual time of impact we were talking to each other and not looking ahead of us while we waited for the light to change from red to green.
Other people, however, had witnessed the entire incident. Apparently what had happened is that the boy on the bike had pulled up parallel to us and then made an immediate left in front of us. The light in front of us was red but at the same time the light going in the other direction was also red. Oncoming traffic however had a priority green light allowing traffic to go forward and turn left. In essence, northbound, eastbound, and westbound traffic all had red lights while those traveling southbound had a green light.
The boy on the bike was riding northbound and came to a red light and made a left to head west bound also against a red light and on the wrong side of the street. The driver of the car travelling southbound had the right of way; this was small consolation for her. She was taken to hospital and treated for shock.
The boy on the bike was not wearing a helmet, which probably accounted for the blood streaming from his head. From what I understand he was very fortunate and he will be okay, at least physically.
The whole accident lasted only a few seconds but there is many a lesson to be learnt from this tragedy.