Perspective | Children should be able to walk and bike to school safely. But, in D.C., four have been hit in crosswalks in less than four weeks. – The Washington Post

An earlier model of this column misspelled the identify of an internet site that posted video clips of the kids who have been hit by a automobile. It’s kilmoenews, not kilmoennews. The column has been corrected.
Two younger youngsters will be seen mendacity within the highway close to a crosswalk, with their backpacks tossed apart.
One baby holds a lady’s hand and will be heard crying. The opposite baby struggles to stand up however is gently stopped by one other girl.
“It’s okay, child,” she says, waving her open palms up and down, signaling for the kid to cease shifting.
The clip stops there, however a second one picks up the place it leaves off. In it, a person’s voice will be heard repeatedly saying, “Don’t let ’em transfer.”
These clips have been posted on Twitter on Wednesday morning on the web page for Killmoenews. The phrases above them learn: “WHEELER ROAD SE AND MISSISSIPPI SE CHILDREN WERE HIT BY A JEEP, ON THEIR WAY TO SCHOOL.”
Instantly, folks began clicking on these movies and sharing them, horrified by what had been captured. The movies not solely confirmed a painful-to-look-at scene, but in addition conjured an impossible-to-ignore thought: Not once more.
These two youngsters, ages 6 and eight, weren’t the primary youngsters to be struck by a car whereas in a crosswalk up to now month.
On Sept. 13, Allison Hart, who was 5, was killed after being hit by a van whereas driving her bike in a crosswalk in her Brookland neighborhood.
And on Sept. 24, Nathan Ballard-Means, 4, was hit by an SUV whereas he was driving his bike in a crosswalk in Dupont Circle — he, nonetheless, survived.
A child on a bike was struck in a D.C. crosswalk — again
Take into consideration these numbers. 4 D.C. youngsters have been hit by autos in lower than 4 weeks. 4 youngsters in three completely different neighborhoods have been struck by autos that outweighed them by 1000’s of kilos, and the extent of their accidents got here all the way down to seconds and inches and angles.
It’s an unfair math, and that has not been misplaced on any of the individuals who have been screaming and begging for the town to indicate that it’s making highway security enhancements a precedence.
“Sufficient is sufficient,” wrote one individual as a reply to the submit with the movies. The D.C. Division of Transportation, they wrote, “is continually failing to offer for our most weak highway customers. When do they lastly do one thing about harmful drivers?”
Prita Piekara, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for the realm the place Allison’s dying occurred, replied to the unique submit: “One other horrific instance of our metropolis is prioritizing 4,000 lb autos over the protection of our youngsters WALKING TO SCHOOL.”
Colleen Costello, one other advisory neighborhood commissioner, wrote: “I received’t share the video out of respect for the privateness of the 2 little ladies . . . however I’m LIVID. When youngsters proceed to be injured + killed by drivers, & leaders fail to notice that as an indication they’re not doing sufficient to handle PREVENTABLE hurt, they aren’t main & must go.”
Piekara and Costello have referred to as on metropolis officers to begin making the roads safer for D.C.’s youngest by putting in raised crosswalks and velocity tables close to each faculty, playground, library and recreation heart.
Sure, it can price cash, however it appears a logical begin to displaying that the town’s Imaginative and prescient Zero plan — which requires eliminating visitors deaths by 2024 — doesn’t mirror zero imaginative and prescient. After all, if the town has higher concepts on the way to hold youngsters in crosswalks protected, then leaders ought to inform the group about them and get to work. We already know what doing too little, too slowly will deliver: Extra youngsters getting injured or worse. This previous month has proven us that.
These two youngsters have been hit on Nationwide Stroll to College Day, when college students are inspired to bike, scoot or stroll to highschool. They, together with their father, have been taken to a hospital, and one baby was described as having serious injuries.
“For this incident to occur on a day the place the town was making an attempt to lift consciousness on scholar security ought to be a clarion name for us to maneuver expeditiously round enhancing security measures in communities,” Carlene Reid, Ward 8 member of the D.C. State Board of Schooling, says. “We proceed to fail as a metropolis if another baby is killed or injured whereas we look forward to backlogged security requests to be fulfilled.”
A 5-year-old was killed while riding her bike. A video taken the next day has, rightfully, left people furious.
A day earlier than these two youngsters have been hit, Allison Hart’s mom, Jessica Hart, tagged Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Transportation Division officers in a string of two heartbreaking tweets.
“Hey,” she wrote, “right now I commissioned an urn for my 5-yr-old killed in a crosswalk. What did YOU do right now to make our streets safer for weak customers? How about demanding reciprocity w/MD, VA? . . . How about really putting in extra cease indicators, cameras, and implementing them NOW??? Our youngsters can’t wait for one more examine, extra speak. My daughter deserved safer streets and we’d like them TODAY.”
And fewer than 24 hours later, movies began being shared on-line of the 2 youngsters hit in a crosswalk.
One of many individuals who noticed them was John Means, the daddy of Nathan, the 4-year-old who was hit by an SUV and amazingly escaped with scrapes and bruises. Means described these clips as reopening wounds that “had solely simply begun to heal.”
“It’s a horrifying reminder that this drawback is endemic in our group and requires us to make systematic adjustments to our streets,” he mentioned. “Children and pedestrians must really feel protected on streets as the primary precedence, not the final.”
He shared with me a photograph of Nathan taken as he walked to highschool that morning. In it, the 4-year-old stands in entrance of a police automobile. He wears shiny inexperienced rain boots and a backpack lined in butterflies. It’s a joyful scene.
Sadly, that’s not the picture many D.C. residents will keep in mind once they consider this 12 months’s Nationwide Stroll to College Day. They are going to as an alternative see backpacks on pavement and kids mendacity down on the road when they need to have been strolling safely throughout it.

Learn extra from Theresa Vargas:
A Virginia filmmaker entered the deadly Darién Gap to capture what Black migrants face. He almost didn’t make it out.
The inspiring math of kindness: How one woman turned a 2-day yard sale into a year’s worth of kindness
Not only lives are lost to gun violence. So, too, are ‘teenage dreams.’


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