Ten minutes after her 12-year-old son left home on his bike on the first day of school, Erin Andersen got a heart-stopping phone call.
She was told Marcus had been struck by a vehicle at the intersection of 39th Street and Metcalf Avenue. It was just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday and her son was heading to Eastview Middle School to start Grade 7.
“I thought, how could this happen? I’d just kissed him goodbye and they were saying he’d been hit,” said the Red Deer mother.
Although Marcus’s injuries were not life-threatening, the largest bone in his leg was snapped in half after coming in contact with the bumper of a large pickup truck. At Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, he had to have two metal plates screwed into his femur.
“The emotions you go through…” said Andersen. “Just watching him suffer… It’s not like he just walked away from this with a few scrapes and bruises. He’s in for a (lot) of rehab.”
Andersen is sharing this story because she wants all Red Deer drivers to pay more attention to students at intersections and crosswalks.
Although the female motorist, who stayed at the accident scene, was upset, Andersen initially questioned why she only received a ticket from police for making an unsafe left-hand turn while Marcus is in for months of recovery.
Cpl. Karyn Kay of Red Deer City RCMP said she’s very sympathetic to Marcus and his family, but there was nothing criminal about the accident.
According to police, the driver had been headed north on Metcalf and had come to a complete stop at the stop sign at 39th. The youth had ridden his bike across the intersection as she was turning left, and the truck clipped him in a slow-speed collision.
Kay reminded cyclists they are supposed to walk their bikes across intersections. Bikes are treated as vehicles under the law and motorists are not bound to yield to them as they must for pedestrians.
A positive change that pleases both Andersen and Kay is the City of Red Deer will be making the intersection of Metcalf Avenue and 39th Street safer. It only has traffic lights on 39th Street, not for vehicles travelling along Metcalf, which turns into Ellenwood Drive north of 39th Street.
After the accident, City traffic engineer Shyam Kansal confirmed there are plans to install a full set of traffic lights for both directions. He isn’t sure when this will happen, as it depends on the schedule of the city’s Electric Light and Power department. But Kansal believes it will happen within a year.