On Monday, I rode my bike from our headquarters in Northgate down to the Rainier Valley to participate in a community walk for Trevon Crease-Holden – the young victim of a hit-and-run on July 19th. The oldest of seven siblings, Trevon was walking home from playing basketball at the Boys & Girls Club when he was struck by a gray Honda Civic, which fled the scene. Trevon has been comatose since that night, and Quianna Holden, his mother, has made several impassioned pleas for the driver to come forward.
Though I’m new to biking, I’m not new to pedestrianism, having been without a car for a few long stretches as an adult. I used to joke with people that I’d dodge death three times before I’d get in to work – that many drivers just weren’t aware of the other, non-vehicular users of the road. That’s only increased since I’ve started biking, though I ride like cars to be as predictable as I can to those driving in vehicles, and strive to be cautious, considerate, and aware of what’s going on around me.
It was a beautiful ride south. On one stretch, coming up a hill on MLK out of the Madrona Valley, I was passed by another cyclist. Once we were on more level stretches, I paced her for quite a while, until a divot in the road in the Central District caused something to bounce out of her pannier. I stopped and picked it up for her. “Seattle streets, huh?” she commented and I agreed. I pulled ahead of her, and continued on to the remaining hazardous mile along Rainier Avenue – where a car pulled in front of me abruptly, braked to a stop for no reason I could discern, other than to (ostensibly) force me to stop. I was surprised a few minutes after I arrived to see the earlier cyclist pull up as well. “We should have just ridden together,” we said simultaneously, before bemoaning the route that Google Maps suggested. Plus, safety in numbers.
Another friend of mine was there, also arriving by bike, having ridden with a friend of hers. We locked up and hurried to join the walk and vigil for Trevon. It was a moving experience, to walk among friends and strangers, to be a part of a community showing support for this kid, who did nothing more than cross a street on his way home one night.
Quianna spoke to the crowd when we arrived at the intersection where her son had been hit. Though understandably emotional at times, she spoke about what she was seeing as a result of it – seeing people come together to show her son he is loved, and how this highlights the need to make streets safer for everyone. Mayor McGinn, and city councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Richard Conlin (himself sporting a sling after a recent collision with a vehicle while he was on a bike) were there. I appreciated that they kept the focus on Quianna and Trevon.
So, how do we get to safer streets? When I’ve been in my car recently, I’ve been more eagle-eyed for pedestrians and cyclists, and kept a tight watch on my speedometer. I’ve been flabbergasted by the number of people going upward of 50 mph in 30 mph zones, and shooting me dirty looks for obeying the speed limit. Though I can do my part, how can I help influence others?
I’m hoping that some of the recent attention this week in vehicle-cyclist collisions will help inspire some people to be more cautious. We need to do it for Trevon. We need to do it for the families who are suffering due to unnecessary and avoidable accidents.
What will you do to help make streets safer?
Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming).
An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.