Caron Lemay and her daughter Stella bike to school in Kirkland together regularly. But they are both haunted by what they saw, heard and felt one day on the way to school, when a person driving failed to see a man walking in the crosswalk and hit him hard.
Caron and Stella’s story is jarring and powerful, but it is unfortunately not uncommon. It’s a potent insight into just how wide the wake of trauma can be following a roadway tragedy, even to those not directly involved.
Caron testified in the State Legislature in favor of increased funding for biking and walking safety funds. Though the legislative session ended without such a funding package, her story is still powerful. Please, read the whole story on the Bicycle Alliance of Washington’s blog. Here’s an excerpt:
I went back to Stella. She was still screaming. My ears were finally starting to work properly and I realized she was screaming “Mommy!” over and over again, tears streaming down her face. I also realized that I had blood on my right hand from where I had touched him; I used my water bottle from my bike to rinse the man’s blood off.
Seeing blood on my hand was too much for her–she was terrified. I hugged her and asked if she wanted to stay and wait for the ambulance to “come fix the man.” She screamed, “No! No I want to leave this place!”
No one had moved their cars from the intersection; everyone was stopped. I lifted my kickstand and pushed the bike into the intersection, taking Stella’s hand. The light was at the end of a green now. We crossed, then walked the first bit of the way on the sidewalk. When we finally got to the pedestrian overpass we were back on our bikes again. At the other side of the overpass I stopped us again and called 9-1-1 to give my name and number as a witness for the collision. Stella wanted to know why I was calling, so I explained.
Caron now volunteers with Kirkland Neighborhood Greenways. Be safe out there and take action. We can make our streets safe.