Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's not alright. He was 8 yrs old.

Last Thursday Elijah Montalvan was struck by a car and he died on Saturday, September 1st, 2012.  He was riding at night, pretty damn late, and was struck by a driver with a suspended license and no insurance.  It doesn't say in the article, but I can almost guarantee that there wasn't a bike helmet or bike lights involved.  How many things are wrong with this?  Too many.

The street where Elijah was hit is a curving, dense neighborhood drive thick with parallel parking.  No one in that neighborhood should be driving over 25 mph.  When we put up the entirely avoidable ghost bike on Monday  there was a lot of car traffic, much of it moving much too quickly.  When someone gets in a car, why is it that  concern for others usually gets left behind?  Shaving 20 seconds on my 5 minute drive to the grocery store somehow warrants risking life and limb of children in the neighborhood.

Linda was our inspiration for putting together a ghost bike for Elijah.  She is just one year past the death of her partner, Will Laramie, who was struck by a repeat drunk driver.  Linda was planning to put up a ghost bike back up on Burnside, locking it securely this time so the bike isn't lifted by scrappers.  The intersection where Will was struck, Burnside and Larrabee, needs some work.  While mounting the bike, we chatted about how the intersection would be safer for bikes and pedestrians if instead of a speed encouraging Y-intersection, the streets came together perpendicularly.  This would reduce speeds through the intersection and provide better sight lines.  Much thanks to the always vigilant and motivated Kevin Sullivan for finding the youth bike and towing the bikes over to East Hartford.

The question is, "Will East Hartford take the tragic death of Elijah, and many other cyclist deaths in their city, and choose to take action?"  Bike Walk Connecticut has education programs that can be implemented in schools, and the annual Will Laramie Benefit Concert was organized to help benefit / support that type of education.  Ghost bikes can only do so much.  The next step is making bicycle safety education part of a child's education.  Kids learn how to play bean bag dodge in gym class, why not basic cycling safety?  Cycling safety education could even be worked into a recess program.

Note:  For those that know me well.  The Burnside ghost bike is the Huffy Sweekstakes, also known as Good Vibrations Deluxe.


Todd Spinner said...

The Huffy is now a ghost bike? That was your signature bike! I guess that is fitting in a way.

Schleppi "My Child Would Never!" Longstocking said...

This is yet another example of so much bad judgment, but if we focus on the poor parenting, I think it's easy for other parents to be dismissive of this incident. You know: "Oh, I'd never let my child ride after dark," or "My kid would always wear a helmet." Result: false sense of safety.

Motorists need to drive slowly and with caution.

Cyclists need to ride cautiously and no faster than they can handle the bike.

Parents need to be parents.

jacobmontereal said...

Parents responsibility is to protect their children, their guidance is very important.

Jacob of biking Philippines\

Alex said...

I read about that before. It's just so horrible.