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Amber Weilert to the Cascade lunch: ‘No mom can go through this again’

Amber Weilert on a stage next to a screen with her name and the text "2024 Community Spoke Award."
Amber Weilert at the 2024 Cascade Bicycle Club Bike Everywhere Lunch.

When I saw Amber Weilert’s name on the speaker’s list for Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike Everywhere Lunch Monday, I looked around at the large room full of people talking with old friends, networking, and glad-handing with local politicians and thought, A lot of these people don’t yet know who Amber is, and they don’t understand what’s coming.

When it was her turn to speak about the importance of safe streets work, she didn’t talk in hypotheticals or statistics. Instead, she talked about traveling to the event that morning, a trip that took her past the crosswalk on Pacific Ave S where her son Mikey was killed.

“He got his first bike when he was four, and he never got off it,” she told the silenced room. “He would have been part of this community.” Her 13-year-old son was biking in a crosswalk to get across the wide and fast Pacific Ave S (SR-7) in July 2022 when the person driving in one lane stopped to let him cross, but the person driving in the second lane did not, striking and killing him.


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“He was one of those invisible people in a crosswalk,” Amber said. After the tragedy, Amber bravely took to the media to share her story and her pain in hopes she could influence governments to take action. One fairly immediate result was the inclusion of $3 million in state funding in the next state budget earmarked for safety improvements to SR-7.

That’s why Amber’s trip past Mikey’s crosswalk Tuesday morning was so horrifying. Someone had driven into a crosswalk sign, breaking it. “The flashing light, someone had hit it, and it’s down on the road,” she said through tears. “It’s down on the road so someone else can get hurt. The same crosswalk where my son died is unsafe again.” A few feet away is a sign reading, “Please Watch For Bicyclists. In Memory of Michael Weilert.” That sign had also been struck and was lying on the ground.

“We need safe roads, and we need them now. Michael has already died,” she told the room full of bicycling advocates and political leaders. “His friends use these crosswalks every day. […] No mom can go through this again.”

While this road and this one crosswalk clearly need more significant and permanent safety fixes, so do countless insufficient crosswalks just like it in communities all across the state. The problem can feel so large and overwhelming, especially when attempts to fix even one problem spot gets smashed and left lying on the ground.

But Amber isn’t giving up, and neither should anyone else. She said she hopes to start a foundation in Michael’s name “dedicated to teens like him and road safety.” She has also followed her son’s passion and bought a bike for herself. “I have been inspired. I have bought my own e-bike. It’s a white bike honoring Mike. A ghost bike. I have joined this wonderful community.”

I was crying, trying my best to type notes into my phone even though all I could see was a blur. People all around the room were crying, too. I am so grateful to Amber for sharing her story and reminding everyone what is really at stake.


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2 responses to “Amber Weilert to the Cascade lunch: ‘No mom can go through this again’”

  1. Bob Anderton

    As an an attendee and sponsor of the lunch I can confirm Tom’s observation— I had no idea what Ms. Weilert might say, only that she was receiving an award. But when she began to speak, it quickly became clear to me and everyone else there that she spoke directly from her heart… and she was riveting.

    What gave her this power is something no one ever wants to experience– a child’s sudden death. Her son was killed after being run down in a crosswalk near his school.

    What makes Ms. Weilert exceptional is that she has found the strength to meaningfully share what happened (and what is still happening in this location). She is doing everything she can to keep others from experiencing something similar. Nothing can ever make up for her loss, but her efforts now to make our streets safer are a plus for everyone.

    Thank you Amber Weilert!

  2. eddiew

    Tom: well done. Pacific Avenue South lacks sidewalks south of the Tacoma city limits. It has been dangerous for decades. In about 1930, my father was stuck when he was biking back from the store. In the late aughts, when the region was debating the 2007 joint ballot measure, the Sierra Club folks opposed the cross base highway and asked for sidewalks on SR-7. Neither was provided.

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