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Nothing captures the terrifying reality of trying to get around Lincoln, Neb. by bike like the video of a hit-and-run involving a young boy in May.
The boy was trying to cross the enormous intersection of 56th Street and Highway 2 when the driver of a pickup truck struck him. Rather than stopping, the truck driver continued on. Eventually the driver did stop, and backed up, only to continue driving, running over the boy and dragging him “25 feet into the intersection while the child repeatedly yelled, ‘Stop,’” according to a police description.
Finally, the boy got free and, with his pants ripped, waved politely to the man before he drove off, perhaps the saddest part of this sordid incident.
The whole thing was caught on video (warning: It’s pretty disturbing).
Despite being caught on video and observed by several witnesses, the driver still hasn’t been caught.
Cyclists in Lincoln say not enough is being done to make the streets safe for people on foot and bike.
An activist named Chris St. Pierre recently analyzed more than 800 bike crashes that happened in the city in the last decade. Of those he reported, 41 percent, a plurality happened in a crosswalk. Another 11 percent happened at a bike trail crossing.
St. Pierre said he was inspired to do the research after he was hit by a car while on a bike path crosswalk. (He was ticketed for failing to yield right of way.)
The city recently approved a bike plan, that local bike advocate Cassey Lottman said is a step in the right direction. But the plan doesn’t do a whole lot to make wide-dangerous arterial streets like Highway 2 safer to cross, she said.
At a recent meeting about the bike plan, area residents asked for bike lanes on Highway 2, according to Lottman.
“Bicyclists voiced many concerns about needing a safer way to cross Highway 2, which forms a wide east-to-west divider splitting the southmost parts of Lincoln (including housing and several business districts) from the rest of town,” she told Streetsblog. “City engineers present said there was nothing that can or would be done.”
Here’s a look at the intersection, from the police video.
“City engineers present said there was nothing that can or would be done,” she said. “Bicyclists asked, ‘Must we wait until someone is hit?’ and we learned someone had in fact already been hit and nothing is going to change.”
That person was the boy in the video. The Crimestoppers alert was issued, according to Lottman, the following day, a full month after the crash.
Local commuter cyclist Jennifer Harazin told Streetsblog she tries really hard to be as careful as possible, always signaling, stopping at red lights and mostly sticking to trails or side paths.
Still she was struck by a driver who failed to yield to her where a driveway crossed a bike path.
“I do all the things I’m supposed to do. And that still resulted in me getting hit by a car once,” she said. “Everyone I know that’s a frequent cyclist has had a run in with a vehicle or a near run in.”