More is known about a tragic Mountain View accident that claimed the life of a 13-year-old bicycle rider in March.
KPIX-TV reported on new information found in a news release from Mountain View Police. The release indicated that many people had expressed concern and questions after the tragedy.
The police department’s letter addressed to the community details the events from March 17, 2022. On that morning, a 13-year-old boy, Andre Retana, was struck by a construction truck along El Camino Road near Grant Road. Life-saving measures were performed on the victim at the scene. He was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.
Investigators have now determined that Retana was riding in the truck’s right-side blind spot before pulling in front of the truck. The boy then fell from his bicycle in front of the truck and was struck.
Through video analysis and witness testimony, officers discovered that the truck’s driver, unaware of what happened, came to a full stop for a red light and then made a right turn. Police determined that the driver couldn’t have known about the presence of the boy or the collision.
The investigation found that the driver only realized what had occurred after being told by bystanders. The driver was described as being “devastated” by the incident. Officers did not believe drugs or alcohol played a part in the accident. The driver’s identity has not been released and the report did not say if the driver would face any charges.
Police Chief Chris Hsiung expressed how much his officers have been affected by the loss of such a young life and revealed that many on the force knew the 13-year-old victim. “This case has impacted us deeply. We continue to mourn with the family…the Retana and Lara families remain in my thoughts and prayers.”
Cycling Accident Dangers in Mountain View
Bicyclists in Mountain View face hazards anytime they are forced to ride alongside traffic. There’s no doubt they could use better protection from cars, trucks, and SUVs through the addition of more bike lanes and protected lanes in the city.
Driver education is also key to giving riders the chance to enjoy their bike rides and return home safely. Drivers owe cyclists a duty of care. They must be alert to spot a rider and slow down to prevent a collision no matter the circumstances.
California’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) records bicycle accidents in the Bay Area each year. They recorded 26 bicycle accidents in the city limits of Mountain view in 2020 and all of those collisions led to an injury. In 2021 the number was slightly lower as TIMS recorded 21 accidents involving bicyclists with 22 injuries reported.
Across the entirety of Santa Clara County in 2021, there were 445 bicycle accidents with a reported 455 injuries and 6 tragic deaths recorded.
Plans for Safer Roads for Cyclists in Mountain View
The City of Mountain View PD released a statement which said
…the City is moving forward on strategies for improving road safety including working on an integrated Vision Zero Action Plan/Local Road Safety Plan that provides a framework for identifying, analyzing and prioritizing roadway safety improvements on City roads based on collision analysis and proven measures to reduce the risk of collisions.
MJQ Law, A personal injury law firm San Francisco, recently released some statistics which show how Vision Zero is working out in the area. They said they’ll have cycling statistics released by June 2022.
Like SF, Mountain View’s Vision Zero plans call for zero traffic deaths by 2030.