Jeremy Rice

Questions linger after boy hit on bike

According to RCMP, the driver had the right of way, and was not at fault in the July 10 crash. The cyclist failed to stop at the stop sign, police say. But questions linger and the victim's father has asked the city to take a look at the intersection.

Jeremy Rice, 13, doesn’t remember the precise moment he was hit by a car and thrown off his bike.

But he does remember stopping at the stop sign at Chilliwack Central Road and Upper Prairie Road, and looking both ways before trying to cross in the agricultural section of East Chilliwack.

No one asked the youth if he had stopped at the stop sign, even though he was conscious and breathing before being airlifted to hospital, said Jeremy’s father, Mark Rice.

Also he noticed there were no skid marks on the roadway left by the westbound motorist, which could indicate there were visibility issues at the crash site.

“I am still not sure why the driver did not see my son,” Rice said.

According to the July 10 RCMP report, the westbound driver had the right of way, and was not at fault. The injured cyclist failed to stop at the stop sign, police said.

But questions linger in Rice’s mind and he has asked city staff to take a look at the intersection to determine if something can be done to make that corner safer. It’s located about a block from their home.

“I followed the same path as the driver did travelling the speed limit at 60 km/hr and I can tell you it is a blind corner,” Rice said.

The young cyclist told The Progress he remembered looking to his left and then to his right, and when he looked left again he had already started crossing Chilliwack Central, and saw the car coming toward him before everything went black.

He was wearing a bike helmet, but was sent airborne in the crash. The youth was treated at BC Children’s hospital for a broken rib, partially collapsed lung, sprained ankle and stitches to his head.

Rice was up and moving around slowly on crutches last week.

Fortunately he’s doing all right, “all things considered” and is expected to recover from his injuries in the long term, says his dad.

But Rice still felt compelled to visit city hall last week to get more information about that intersection. He was told by neighbours that the area was the scene of a fatal crash a couple of years ago.

They thought something had fallen off a truck when they saw Jeremy thrown off the bike last Sunday.

“The problem with that corner is that you cannot make a good decision until you’re out in the roadway,” Rice said. “If you’re trying to turn left or right, you can’t see the traffic coming from the eastern direction very well.”

City officials said they made initial measurements and will be doing more at the crash site.

The crash history at the intersection is considered “light” by officials, with one crash there in 2010 and two in 2009, including a fatal. But the fatal incident did not have anything specifically to do with the intersection, staff said.

A visibility test is being planned, which is a specific field engineering test to assess the driver’s view of side streets.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

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