Riverside’s police chief said a 16-year-old bicyclist who was struck by a car as he crossed First Avenue at Forest Avenue against a red light on April 26 was lucky not have been seriously injured.
Two different videos of the crash – one from a motorist’s dashcam and another from a camera at Riverside-Brookfield High School – show that a boy rides his BMX-style bike without pausing at the corner from west to east across First Avenue from the south sidewalk on Ridgewood Road.
At the time of crash, about 8:15 p.m., it is dark outside. The videos show that the boy makes it almost all the way across the roadway before being struck by a 2003 Lincoln sedan in the easternmost lane of traffic.
The dashcam video appears to show the boy trying to veer north away from the oncoming car before he’s struck. The bicycle can be seen tumbling northward and landing on the north sidewalk of Forest Avenue.
“When you look at the video, you can see how lucky he was,” Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said.
Paramedics took the boy, a resident of Riverside, to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment. According to Weitzel, while he took a hard fall onto the pavement, the boy was alert and responsive the entire time and walked by himself to the ambulance. He was released from the hospital after treatment, Weitzel said.
The dashcam video clearly shows that northbound traffic had a solid green light and that the driver of the Lincoln saw the bicyclist only at the last second.
Police did not issue any citations to the 56-year-old Markham woman who was driving the Lincoln. Paramedics, however, did treat the woman for a panic attack following the crash.
Weitzel said the traffic lights and pedestrian countdown signals at the intersection were working properly at the time of the crash. However, Weitzel did say the police department has received some complaints that the temporary signals installed during the MWRD’s sewer lining project at the intersection don’t cycle correctly.
The temporary signals are not tied into the sensors embedded in the roadway, said Weitzel. Both left-turn signals and green lights are supposed to cycle continuously.
The company responsible for maintaining the signals, Lyons-Pinner Electric has not reported any malfunctions whenever they have gone out to check after complaints, said Weitzel.
Police called the company again on April 30 after a Brookfield resident commented on the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark’s website, that her family has experienced cycle malfunctions on more than one occasion.
According to Weitzel, Lyons-Pinner Electric personnel observed the signals for about 45 minutes on April 30 and did not report any malfunctions.
However, said Weitzel, the company said that the temporary signals are tied into the same circuit as other signals up and down First Avenue. If there is heavy traffic or some sort of issue elsewhere along the roadway, that could affect the way the Riverside signal cycles.
“So if there’s a problem in Maywood, it could affect the cycle at First and Forest,” Weitzel said.