A Western Michigan mother is going across the crosswalk on her bicycle regulated by a stop sign towing her baby along behind her when the unthinkable happens.  The car which has stopped and apparently neglected to notice her advance runs into her baby's burley (a bicycle buggy as depicted below)), sending the mother and baby to the hospital.  From the Mlive article

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, MI -- A Jenison woman and her 3-year-old daughter were injured Thursday evening when the bicycle they were riding were hit by a vehicle. 

Both Christina Navitskas, 28, and Layla, 3, are in stable condition after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office. 

The crash occurred around 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 at the intersection of Thomas Avenue and Baldwin Street in Georgetown Township. 

Police said Stephanie Wright, 31, of Jenison was stopped on Thomas Avenue waiting for traffic to clear to turn right into an eastbound lane of Baldwin Street.

At the same time, Christina Navitskas told police she thought the driver saw her and proceeded through the intersection. Layla was trailing behind in a burley. As traffic cleared for Wright, she pulled forward, colliding with the burley, police said.

Both the mother and child were taken to a local hospital by Life EMS to be treated for their injuries. The driver of the vehicle wasn't injured and was wearing her seat belt. 

The Google map above depicts the scene of the easily preventable accident.  The red arrow showing the movement of the bicycle, the lavender square represents the stopped car (it may have been further over anticipating a right turn).  Either way, the burley and car had stopped and the bicyclist, who clearly has the right-of-way in such situations had been attempting to cross the crosswalk and had likely been in that crosswalk for a couple of seconds or more as it takes a while to accelerate with a burley behind.

The driver's view, thanks again to Google maps is shown below. 

Nothing prevents the churly driver from seeing the bicycle and burley approaching the roadway, nothing prevents her from seeing the entry of the bicyclist into the crosswalk.  But one can interpolate that the driver was only intent on looking to her left to see whether she could make her right turn once the traffic cleared; she was totally neglectful on looking to the front or right of her.  This is definitely something that all motorist need to do whenever they decide to make a right turn-- the one time you fail to do so, could be the time that you run into a vulnerable user of the crosswalk, and critically injure or kill them.

Fortunately for you that if this does happen, the police and media will treat the ensuing story of the incident like they did here.  In none of the news articles on this collision in local media markets that cover Jenison was there any mention of any legal repercussions against the careless driving of Stephanie Wright, but we do learn that she was uninjured and wearing a seat belt. 

The 3 year old daughter, as seen on other news, is recovering after surgery, having suffered some serious road rash and other injuries.  The captain of the local sheriff's office seems interested more in providing an everybody-does-it excuse for the driver's carelessness and lecturing the public on why bicycles and burleys need to have reflectors on them and their occupants need to wear bright clothing (even though neither would have helped out in this case). 

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Replies to This Discussion

Their policy seems to most frequently blame the cyclist.  I'm not sure they even bother to go as far as you do X by looking at the street and analyzing the situation.  Not in the cases I've read anyway.  Until it happens to them or their family, it won't matter on iota.  Rest assured if it were a police officer or one of their spouses that were hit....I'd bet 100,000 dollars that the driver would be charged.

I read an article yesterday where a drunk driver killed a police officer.  Second DUI for the driver btw.  The driver got 32 years in jail....oh that's right....it was a person wearing a uniform that was killed...hence the amazingly long sentence.  Too damn bad that regular lives don't matter as much as those in blue.


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