Boy, 6, hit by truck, is fine
Driver of dump truck never saw boy on bicycle
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By Dave Williams  May 24, 2013 12:00 am

A 6-year-old boy is lucky to have escaped major injury and even luckier to be alive after being run over by a 10-wheeled Peterbuilt truck on Rohnert Park Expressway on May 20.

According to a report by the Rohnert Park Dept. of Public Safety, the boy was riding across the crosswalk with his mother following close behind when he got in front of the 10-wheeled dump truck. 

As he got in front of the truck, according to witnesses, the light turned green and the truck driver accelerated. The boy was hit by the front bumper and, along with his bicycle, sucked underneath the truck. 

The truck made a left turn while the boy was thrashing around underneath. The path of the rear tires showed the boy wound up tumbling out from under the right fuel tank area and landed clear of the rear dual tires.

The boy was scooped up by his mother and ultimately transported by ambulance to Santa 

Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for superficial scratches on his arms. His helmet was split in two and a large section smashed by the rear tires.

Based on the location of the boy, the truck driver could not see him. Also, a preliminary investigation indicated the driver was not distracted and his cellular phone is not considered a factor. A witness flagged down the driver, who had no clue what had happened. The driver immediately stopped his truck and returned to the scene.

"Regardless of who was at fault, this little fellow and his mother are okay and that is what is important," said Sgt. Aaron Johnson of the RPDPS Traffic Team.

Preliminary investigation results indicate the child and mother should not have been in the crosswalk. However, the traffic team is looking into more witness interviews as well as other data from the accident scene.

"Bicycles must follow the rules of the road" Johnson said. "Drivers do not expect bicycles to be coming from the right; therefore, we want to remind them (bicycle riders) to use the right hand portion of the roadway. Although a child, he should have been off of the bike and walking it across the street."

The Department of Public Safety also reminds pedestrians to use the crosswalk, and follow the signal when it says it is okay to cross.

"The walk symbol or word 'WALK' indicates it is okay to enter the street and cross. If you are on a bike, get off and walk it," Johnson said. "The flashing hand means pedestrians need to stay on the sidewalk and wait for the light to cycle. Contrary to popular belief it does not mean run across the intersection and hope for the best. Daily, pedestrians run across the streets in town with the attitude that they have the right away because they are a pedestrian. You may have the right away but eventually you will be - dead right."

In addition to the traffic safety operations conducted by RPDPS using funds from the Office of Traffic Safety, Johnson says they are going to ramp up the bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement.

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