TRAGIC DEATH of ANDREW WRIGHT

Andrew Wright, Myers Park HS freshman

Just before 7 a.m. last Tuesday, May 29, Andrew lost control of his bike while attempting to weave around rollout trash bins on a Sharon Lane sidewalk, clipped a trash bin and was thrust into the path of a passing truck. He was on his way to school. Unfortunately, he was not wearing a helmet.  No charges were pressed against the motorist. This is the only bicycle death in 2012 on Charlotte streets, but it is one too many. We all mourn the loss of Andrew, and we urge anyone riding a bicycle, regardless of age or skill level, whether on a sidewalk or in the street, to  wear a helmet at all times. However, in this particular case, it appears that the issue of trash cans illegally left on urban sidewalks is the larger concern, and CABA hopes that public officials are taking appropriate action to discourage or curtail this practice.

A “ghost bike” has been placed at the scene of the crash, as is customarily done in Charlotte and other cities to commemorate the life and spirit of those who have perished. Media coverage was also provided by several area TV stations. For full article, CLICK: Charlotte Observer.

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9 Responses to TRAGIC DEATH of ANDREW WRIGHT

  1. David Spranger says:

    A tragedy to be sure. However, we can already depend on the media to remind us that this young man was not wearing his helmet. That is the last thing we all need to focus on from this very sad event. What about the tragedy of a society that does not give proper bicycle safety lessons to all young students? How about the tragedy of a society that does not teach all drivers to look for possible conflicts coming from the sidewalks/crosswalks? I am just a little disappointed that all focus is on this young man not wearing a helmet, as if that is what caused him to serve into traffic. Let’s just be sad that a fellow bicyclist died needlessly.

    End of rant. I am sorry if I disturbed anyone by it.

    • andrew israel says:

      I am curious why such a young guy was riding so early in the morning. I realized he missed his bus, but couldn’t his parents have given him a lift.

      • Please don’t blame the parents, Andrew. You and I know nothing about them. Rather, mourn the loss of this industrious child who took responsibility for his own actions. When he missed his bus, he jumped on his bike and got to school. He did not seek help from his parents or from anyone else. I hold my children accountable when they miss their bus. Kudos for this amazing child who would have been a responsible citizen had he had the opportunity to grow up.

    • andrew israel says:

      This is a really dangerous sidewalk. Its not suprsing he had an accident here.

      • andrew israel says:

        Hello Justine:
        I appreciate your sentiments. But as a bicyclist and a father I find this story touches me at a deep level. Like an investment banker, cyclists have to be fully present to be successful.
        You have to have a great deal of confidence and ability to access risks. Given that I can count the number of fingers how many people commute from the South Park are and still have a couple of fingers left over, I have agree to disagree with you.

        LIke investment bankers children of Andrew’s age are not able to access risk and take unecessary risks, so I am not sure I would give him kudos. I agree the decision was courageous, but given the difficultly of navigating the terrain ill-advised.

      • Mr. Israel –

        The child is dead.

        I will honor him and give him kudos for the rest of my life for his courage, tenacity and resourcefulness. I will never condemn him nor his family for a perceived inability to access risk, for a willingness to take personal risk, for his unwillingness to miss a day of school or to even to be late, nor for a perceived inability to manage a difficult terrain. I hope that the rest of our community will consider the same actions or lack thereof.

  2. David,
    I agree with you that in this case, with or without a helmet, the end result would have been the same. This was not a bicycle helmet story. Where I would disagree is that helmets were the focus. Most of the media contacted us about the missing helmet but we worked hard to focus that attention on the fact that the public right of way was blocked. That is clearly against the law and was even more clearly the cause of this tragedy. I would also say that no matter what training you had as a driver you could not have avoid this accident. When you consider the low light conditions, street design, and sight lines it is clear why the driver wasn’t at fault. It was as tragic for the driver of that truck as it was for anyone.

    Reading the Observer article it is clear that the majority of the comments made were about the cluttered sidewalks. To say that all the focus was on helmet safety misses that. The focus I see is on clear right of ways and safe routes to school.

    With regards to helmets…last night while riding through a south Charlotte neighborhood I saw four young children riding their bikes…all of them on sidewalks and none of them with helmets. I think the problem is that parents think if the kids ride on the sidewalk they are safer and don’t need a helmet. Over 130,000 children under the age of 15 go to the hospital every year with some level of brain injury caused from a fall off a bicycle. Seeing so many helmet-less kids makes it clear to me that every opportunity to talk about wearing a helmet is just that…an opportunity.

  3. As of this morning, June 13, 2012, the Ghost Bike has been removed from the site.

  4. lauren jahnke says:

    *sighs* i knew this boy. we grew up together when he lived in wisconsin.

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