A 5-year-old boy died while riding his bicycle Friday afternoon.
Joshua Richardson was riding his bicycle on N.W. 58 Terrace near N.W. 20 Street, Lauderhill, Fl. when he was struck by a van. Following the impact, Joshua and his bike were dragged several feet down the street as Joshua was stuck underneath a tire.
As reported by The Miami Herald, Lauderhill Police said the driver of the van, who was not identified, had just finished doing remodeling work on a home in the neighborhood and was driving away.
"He thought he hit a rock and saw someone waving over to him," Lauderhill Police Captain Rick Rocco said. "He got out and saw what was happening."
Joshua was airlifted to Broward General Medical Center, but unfortunately he did not survive.
Police said the van driver was devastated.
"He's holding it together; but he's obviously very concerned about the child's welfare," Captain Rocco said.
Investigators believe Joshua rode his bike into the street. They said charges do not seem likely against the van driver but they are still looking into the accident.
"At this point, I don't see anything that would lead us to charge anybody but it's still pretty early in the investigation," Captain Rocco said.
This is obviously a sad and tragic story. While the accident is still under investigation, It was interesting to note that the driver did not even realize he had run over the young child. This leads to at least 2 possible explanations.
The first explanation would be that the driver was distracted. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died in accidents involving a distracted driver. In fact, distraction-related deaths accounted for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009, the same percentage as in 2008. The latest data came as the overall number of highway deaths dropped last year to its lowest level since 1950. The recent Transportation Department report said 448,000 people were injured in crashes reported to have involved driver distractions in 2009. An estimated 466,000 people were injured under those circumstances in 2008.
The second explanation would be that the young boy came off the sidewalk and went into the rear quarter of the car as it went by. This may offer an explanation for why the driver did not see Joshua, and continued on after the impact. The sidewalk is considered by most cyclists the most dangerous place to ride a bike.
Collisions with a car are more common because drivers aren't watching the sidewalk and bikers ride down curbs and driveways without looking. Since Joshua was only 5 years of age at the time, it is likely he was riding on the sidewalk, and then came down a driveway into the car.
As for cyclist and parents of cyclist, wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings. Always ride defensively and do not assume that the car sees you.