One day when I was in 8th grade, I returned home from my afterschool activities to tragic news. A 6th grader at my school had been killed riding her bike home earlier that afternoon.
I walked across my quiet residential street, to the place where she died – less than a block from her house. I looked at the makeshift shrine that was beginning to build. Her blood stained the street.
She had been riding her bike in the bike lane but she was going against traffic. According to reports, the driver who struck her had pulled up to a sleepy intersection and stopped at the stop sign. She looked to her left and, seeing no cars coming her way, she turned right. Right into that young girl. She wasn’t driving fast. She wasn’t drunk. She just made a simple, but deadly, mistake.
It was an accident. A tragic accident.
Every morning, I pull out of my driveway with my own precious cargo in tow. I see the children in our neighborhood walking and biking down our street to school. I creep to the end of my street and stop. I look left. I see no cars coming.
And then I look right. I imagine what it must have been like for that poor girl in the last moment of her life. I imagine what it must have been like for her friend who had split off from her just a block earlier and who, years later, told me she heard her friend scream but didn’t realize until later what exactly it was that she was hearing. I imagine what it must have been like for the girl’s mom who, I heard, was so heartbroken she moved away from the home they had once shared.
When you come up to an intersection. Please stop. Fully. Please look to both your left and your right. Please do your part to prevent something like this from happening to another family.