On February 26, a bicycle accident injured Susan Bell’s young son on Alameda Island in California. Her son and some friends were riding to Alameda Towne Centre. Bell’s son was attempting to cross the street when a vehicle struck him head-on. His friends said the car flung him into the air. He suffered a separated shoulder and needed 19 stitches.
Neither Bell’s son nor any of his friends were wearing a bicycle helmet. “It’s just a total blessing he is not dead,” Bell told the Alameda News.
Bell is going public with her story in hopes to raise awareness about bicycle safety in the beach community, which is home to many cyclists and pedestrians. The intersection of Grand Street and Otis Drive, near where the bicycle accident occurred, has seen four accidents in the past three years. Local cyclist Gene Oh claims that the responsibility has to fall on both cyclists and motorists.
“If there’s an accident, we’re the ones that are going to pay the price,” Oh told The Alameda News. “By not obeying rules, it reinforces for people that drive that cyclists shouldn’t be respected because they don’t follow the rules.”
Bonnie Wehmann, the education director for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, urges cyclist to practice bicycle safety and go to all lengths in preventing a bicycle accident. She says cyclists should wear bright clothing and always a bicycle helmet.
“A lot of cyclists feel entitled,” Oh said. “They’re doing something good for the environment, so they feel entitled, almost like they’re making a stand or statement. That goes a long way negatively, and it does more harm than good.”