Preventing accidents | April 18, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - April 18, 2008

Preventing accidents

Last week, just as a funeral was taking place for a 10-year-old boy who was hit by a school shuttle bus in San Ramon while riding his bike home from school, a police officer pulled out onto Danville Boulevard from a side street in Danville and collided with a 14-year-old girl on a bike. At the same time, bicycle safety materials were being distributed in the schools as a result of the San Ramon fatality.

The ironies are not lost on us but the more important lesson is this: If it could happen to a police officer, it could happen to anyone. The officer was cleared of any fault; the girl had been illegally riding her bicycle on the sidewalk. As he pulled out of a condominium neighborhood after checking the street, she clipped the front of the police car. But the incident is a wakeup call. Now we know to check the sidewalk for bicyclists (as well as skateboarders and roller-bladers) before we drive forward. It's not a matter of being right, it's a matter of avoiding accidents.

The Danville accident was one of three that have taken place locally in the last month between vehicles and bikes. Also in San Ramon, a 14-year-old California High School student was crossing San Ramon Valley Boulevard on her bicycle when she was hit by a minivan and seriously injured.

The San Ramon Valley has an extensive Street Smarts program aimed at children, teens and adults to make everyone super aware of the dangers of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the streets and sidewalks. The plan is to distribute bike safety information to every student in the district before school lets out. But adults must remember that dangers are real and accidents happen - even to police officers and trained bus drivers. No matter who is at fault, of course, the bike rider is most at risk.