Wiederaenders: Bicycling should not be a high-risk activity
It was with great trepidation Friday night we posted a notice about a 9-year-old child who had been hit by a car while riding a bicycle in Prescott.
Thankfully, Allison Dieterle of Prescott is doing fine, according to her mom, Jamie Wilcox. Allison was hit at 25 mph and knocked unconscious; however, after three hours at Yavapai Regional Medical Center and a host of tests, Allison is home and just bruised.
It reminded me of two similar instances I have come across in my journalism career — one only months ago, the other 27 years past.
The Courier reported the more recent success story this past week, when Nathan Rendl’s friend, Garrett Busch, was honored by the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority for “remaining calm, acting quickly and calling 911, saving the life of (Rendl) on May 7, 2018.”
Rendl, 12, was hit by a car while crossing Lakeshore Drive in Prescott Valley shortly after getting out of school. He suffered life-threatening injuries
and was flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where he spent 39 days battling significant brain trauma, among other injuries.
He has come through it all, returning to school and is doing well. “He’s kind of a miracle,” his mom, Daphne, told us.
The other case involved a boy — about 8 years old in 1991, I recall — who raced his bike down a driveway in Lake Havasu City and was hit by an oncoming car. I was at the scene when paramedics were treating him.
A year later, still working for the Lake Havasu City Herald, I published the accident photo with an update. The boy had significant injuries and had finally come home from the hospital; he was doing good, but would require help for the rest of his life. (I hear he still lives there and is working in the community.)
This strikes a major chord for me.
Even recently I wrote in a Friday Catchall column (Aug. 10): Sadly, according to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location.
And, on Jan. 6, we featured a road safety article, “Nearly 200 pedestrians, cyclists have been hit on Prescott streets since 2013.” As part of that coverage, we reported that on an average of every other week or so since 2013, a vehicle-versus-pedestrian collision has occurred. And, bicycle-vehicle collisions happen on average about once a month locally.
The city has an advisory committee working on this and a few changes have been made to crosswalk signals.
Still, more needs to be done.
The smallest among us must be able to be safe when venturing away from home, whether walking or riding.
Meanwhile, Prescott Police Lead Officer Dave Fuller appropriately urges each driver, rider, and walker to take responsibility. “We just encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings and be alert for the unexpected,” he said. “Bad things can happen in a heartbeat.”
As for Allison, I thank God she is OK.
And, let’s be clear: Safety matters — especially for our children.
Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or firstname.lastname@example.org.