8-year-old biking in Federal Way struck and killed Sunday

An 8-year-old boy on his bike was struck by a car just before 8 p.m. Sunday night one block from his Federal Way home. Wayde Rodriguez-Fale was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.

KIRO reports that police examined the driver and told the station there were no signs of impairment or negligent driving.

From KIRO:

With two parks nearby and a lot of kids playing in the neighborhood, the community has been fighting to get speed bumps put into the neighborhood.“People need to care more about children’s safety in residential areas.  People just need to be more aware,” said Wayde’s mother, Charleyne Fale.

Wayde’s family members say they hope people will learn from this accident and drivers will slow down in residential areas.

Condolences to his friends and family.

Map of the fatal collision:


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21 Responses to 8-year-old biking in Federal Way struck and killed Sunday

  1. Brian Todd says:

    That’s tragic. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    It also pains me to see the “no helmet” line in this story, as it does nearly every other time I see it. With no context to indicate it is a relevant fact (i.e., did he even suffer a head injury?) it always seems like a reflexive kick to the victim. And particularly in the context of online news reporting, it’s throwing red meat to hateful commenters. But, then, that might be the point: drive up the page views, never mind the impact on the survivors.
    Regardless of where you fall on the helmet debate, that’s just shoddy journalism and lousy ethics.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Also, it should be noted that earlier reports stated he was riding as late as 10 or 11. The Times reports that it was actually a little before 8 p.m. (not even sundown yet).

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Here’s how the Times put it: “The child wasn’ t wearing a helmet, but [Deputy Police Chief Andy] Hwang said that he doubts a helmet could have saved the boy from suffering fatal injuries.”

  2. Joel S. says:

    So very sad – condolences to the family.

    I looked on streetview and noticed there are no bike/pedestrian paths or bike lanes. There are some disconnected short and sporadic sidewalks with trash cans and other things put on them, impossible to ride on (and difficult to walk on). But there is a nice white line painted for street parking occasionally.

    This child was killed by poor community transit infrastructure (extremely car-centric) as the root cause of death, and vehicle speed as a contributing factor. That’s not blaming the driver – he/she was probably going at or under the speed limit.

  3. Brian Todd says:

    That’s an improvement over “no helmet.”
    I wonder if there is some way to educate news outlets about this issue. The victim’s helmet status appears in these reports with such consistency that it seems like they have a written policy to “report” it. Whether by policy or not, it would seem an easy follow-up question to solicit an opinion of whether the helmet status was relevant.
    It might seem like a trivial point, but these news reports shape public opinion regarding bicycles. The reader assumes that the few facts included in these tiny reports are both accurate (time of accident: fail) and relevant (helmet: fail). So, by reporting the fact, the reporter implicitly points the finger at the victim and away from the driver. That’s irresponsible when the reporter doesn’t know (or report) the whole story. Particularly when they also choose to include a fact/opinion completely exonerating the driver from fault (“no negligent driving”).
    Again, and most important, it’s a complete tragedy that is made all the more painful for the surviving family by shoddy reporting that incites such mean-spirited commenting.

  4. Jeff Dubrule says:

    Looking at the overhead map, here, this is a big city-planning Fail.
    This is a non-grid “garden”-style layout, with a big N/S arterial (21st) and a secondary N/S street (26th). There are no E/W arterials at all between 320th and 336th. However, there are a bunch of connections between the little “pods” of cul-de-sacs and T-intersections, which means that your closest route to an arterial goes not only down a residential, but also one that isn’t populated by your immediate neighbors.

    Any supposed benefits to this layout has been spoiled by turning residential streets into makeshift arterials because it’s so hard to get in & out of these things.

    Looking around, this street-layout goes on for miles. The sad irony is that people probably bought here because they thought this would be safer.

  5. Mike H says:

    But, to play devil’s advocate, don’t news outlets typically report whether or not a driver or passenger in a fatal car accident was wearing a seat belt?

  6. Brian Todd says:

    It’s a fair question. I’m not sure that they do, but profess ignorance as I don’t follow those stories much, to the extent that they are reported at all.
    I’m not trying to trigger a helmet debate here, but I suggest that the connection between seat belt use and injury is probably a lot more direct and documented than with helmet use. So, reporting that fact is probably relevant in most cases. In a given accident, however, a seat belt might not have offered any protection and reporting on use might be completely irrelevant and misleading. So, again, you make a fair point. My point, however, is that the reported facts should be relevant facts. Readers assume relevance, draw conclusions based on that assumption, and then flame away in the comments.

  7. Joel S says:

    Thankfully they seem to have removed the comments section on KIRO, which should not be there in the first place for these type of sad stories. Better to discuss these issues somewhere than on a major network for all the trolls to exploit.

  8. Orv says:

    It seems to be standard practice in car accidents where injuries or fatalities happen to report whether a seatbelt was being worn. I don’t see this as any different. Both are legally required safety gear. Seatbelts were very controversial when I was growing up, too, with some people feeling they were better off being thrown clear of the accident.

  9. merlin says:

    This is unbearably sad, intensified for me after riding the utterly delightful Kidical Mass ride with Bike Works on Saturday with lots of happy kids and parents. The key information missing from the news report has to do with speed: what is the speed limit in this residential street, and how fast was the driver going? The National Transportation Safety Board reports: “It was estimated that only 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. This compares with fatality rates of 40, 80, and nearly 100 percent for striking speeds of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour…” How many tragic deaths will it take before we engineer non-arterial streets to slow traffic to 20 mph? Speed limits don’t do much; people drive as fast as the roadway allows. … Still, I’d like to hear the driver’s excuse.

  10. Todd says:

    I know that whilst most of the readers of this blog do not really care because it’s not in an area they are familiar with, I have been saying for a long time now that the south end (apart from Interurban South) is lacking in bike infrastructure. I would love to see one day the section that finishes off in T-Town be a bike friendly area. And while I do not live there anymore, I find it almost comical that most people complain about interesections, etc in downtown or the north end of Seattle while the south is drastically lacking. Again, I realize nobody really cares and I can’t expect them too — but it’s way disproportinate to just how good it is in the north end. Trust me, I know, I’ve lived in both areas and put on more miles per year than most of you combined. What am I saying?? The south end sux for biking.

  11. Tim says:

    I ride through this neighborhood on my bike nearly every day in the summer, and weekly during other seasons. The road that is the site of this tragic accident is the main route between 320th and 336th because 21st has no shoulder and heavily-used sidewalks inappropriate for bike travel due to walkers and bus riders waiting at stops, as well as numerous side roads and inherent danger from rolling stop drivers.

    The Westway neighborhood is full of kids playing all over the streets and playgrounds from early morning to late evening, including many on bikes. I never see any of the kids wearing helmets, though I know many of them have them because Bikes for Kids with Tacoma Wheelmen have distributed dozens to resident children via Americorps over the past three years.

    In my opinion, and based on experience and familiarity, the problems that led to this death are:
    1. a complete lack of adult supervision of the kids playing in the streets
    2. no trails or open spaces nearby for kids to enjoy biking
    3. cul de sacs, streets, and driveways crammed with parked cars resulting in cramped play spaces and visibility obstacles for bike riders
    4. no adult cyclist role models in the neighborhood; every serious cyclist I see on this route is using it as a cut-through
    5. heavy car traffic because it is as convenient a cut-through for cars as for bikes

    I hope to see a ghost bike there as soon as possible since it is the most effective reminder of the circumstances that led to this tragedy.

  12. Todd says:

    I agree with all the above. I grew up in this town and they are so far behind the biking times. Why is there not a designated bike trail through the city and beyond? No funds? Fine but give us some bike lanes over there. There’s just nothing on the west side of I-5 and south of the airport for bikes.

  13. pqbuffington says:

    This one really hits home…I grew up riding on those very streets, delivering papers on my BMX (an early Raleigh-Rampar) and committing my share of generally harmless juvenile delinquency; the same streets graduated me to my first drop-bars and derailleur (if it must be spoken, a PoS KHS).

    If you scroll-up North to SW 327th Street (from where the collision is depicted) you can see Olympic View Elementary School, attended by many friends, perhaps even young Mr. Rodriguez-Fale.

    In the woods that ring the elementary there were a two disjointed BMX tracks and in between those, where houses stand now, what might be called today a jump-park…this is where I first saw wild BMX shit…I still remember the day when the big-kids were smoking and seeing who could jump over the most people laying prone; there was some argument as to which was better, face-up or face-down, if said daredevil fucked-up. Most lay face-up, some to keep smoking. The record that day was something like 5. This was the 70’s.

    I have no idea the circumstances of Wayde’s death. The photo on the KIRO site shows a picture of his BMX bike in a cross-walk, presumably at the intersection of SW 333rd ST & 24th Ave SW. I do not remember anything like this happening when I was young; we were never were worried on those streets; we always thought of them as ours.

  14. MJ says:

    I also lived in that neighborhood for awhile and went to Olympic View. The neighborhood is one of the weirdest planned neighborhoods I have ever seen. About 50% of the houses are backwards, like they meant to put the streets behind them where there are fields now or something. I lived in one of the few houses that actually had a front door facing the street. Most everyone else had a sliding glass window and their ‘front door’ faced the back yard. There are no sidewalks in this neighborhood at all. I would guess it is because there is no room. There are car ports stacked up against the street. I lived on the other side of 24th from where this accident happened. This is a very low income neighborhood. I don’t know if there still is but there used to be a police sub station in the entrance of the neighborhood. I remember riding my bike in the street also and behind in the fields, which I guess are parks now. That was back in the early 90’s when there was one park and it was a run down piece of crap. My heart goes out to his family. It sounds like a helmet or not, this was too traumatic of an accident for this little boy to survive.

  15. Jennifer Webb says:

    I know the driver who hit this kid. He had his son in the car who was friends with Wayde. The driver had a heart attack after wards because he was so distraught about the accident. And his son has stopped talking. Sad all around.

  16. brian says:

    Not only is there poor infrastructure in the south end, but drivers tend to be a lot more aggressive than in the city. I used to commute from Pioneer Square to Star Lake/Federal Way, and it was hell trying to ride on Military Rd.

    Most people don’t even remotely obey the speed limit (25) in neighborhoods.

  17. Charlene Fale says:

    I am Wayde’s mother and it stands to reason that some people’s opinions would be harsh or judgmental without all of the facts being correct in the news reports…thank you to those who have offered your condolences this indeed has been a tremendously hard ordeal for our family. It is true that my son wasn’t wearing a helmet when indeed he should have been as he received one with a bike furnished to him by the FWPS AmeriCorps program, however, like it has been said this would not have changed the outcome in any way. I am on a clear mission to make changes to speed limits in all residential areas throughout the state where there are playgrounds and parks present.
    @Jennifer Webb- I don’t know if you’re looking for pity for this driver or his son, after the accident he sat around the accident scene having conversations with people and laughing it up while my son lay on the pavement fighting for his life! I know he spent the later part of the night at the police station…when did this alleged heart attack occur?? I offered to set up a meeting at the police station as part of our closure process(one would think that he would feel safe at the police station) and was denied!! How sad, even if it was an accident he was the last person to see my beautiful son alive and whole, he did contribute to my sons death whether he likes it or not and 5 minutes of his time seemed like a fair request…I say he is a coward! Say what you want about me and mine, the damage has been done…my family has endured so much pain and I am not going to sit here and pretend that things are going to be “okay with time”. This will never go away…I will never see my son physically ever again…let him know that…every time he gets into his car…think about the damage he has caused and maybe the lies he told will replay over and over in his damn head and one day he will feel the pain he has caused!! Sorry, but people need to take responsibility for their actions and I for one cannot condone feeling sorry for someone who is so selfish!

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