10-Year-Old Boy Is First Cyclist Injured in Crash With Car Since Last School-Year’s Rash
FlaglerLive | September 27, 2016
Last school-year, seven young Flagler County students were involved in collisions with vehicles between September and December. One of them, a 7 year old, was killed.
Six were hurt, though none of them critically. The frequency of those crashes prompted the school board and Palm Coast government to study ways to reduce crashes and improve safety awareness among drivers and students. The effort included a safety video produced by students and a few redesigned school bus stops intended to pull students back from roadways as they wait for their school bus, though in the majority of crashes, driver error, not student error, was the cause.
There were no reported crashes past January or through the summer break. But on Saturday, Palm Coast recorded its first vehicle-vs-cyclist collision of the school-year, with a 10-year-old cyclist hospitalized with serious injuries.
The wreck took place at noon Sept. 24 on Emerald Lake Drive in Palm Coast Plantation. The Florida Highway Patrol preliminary investigation found both the cyclist and the driver to share blame.
Matthew Bell, the 10-year-old cyclist and resident of nearby North Riverwalk Drive, was cycling north on a sidewalk that runs perpendicular to Emerald Lake Drive. When he reached the road, he was unable to stop, and continued on–into the path of driver Nicholas W. Meyer, 28, of Orlando. Meyer was driving a Toyota Tacoma company vehicle owned by Massey Services, the pest control and lawn service company. He was going east.
Meyer’s Tacoma struck Bell’s left side, catapulting him, according to FHP’s reconstruction of the incident, several feet ahead of the vehicle and onto the roadway, and sending the bike onto the sidewalk.
An emergency helicopter was placed on stand-by. Bell was reported to be bleeding from the mouth at the scene, according to 911 notes, but he was conscious and talking, and said he had pains in his legs. He was later sitting on the sidewalk. His parents were contacted, and he was transported by ground to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. His injuries were determined to be “non-incapacitating,” according to the report.
The FHP report specifies that Meyer was “not distracted” at the time of impact, on a clear day with no obstructions in the roadway. But he was speeding: while Bell’s cycling into the roadway was “a contributing factor,” the report states, Meyer “was also a contributing factor due to the 38 feet of skid marks left at the scene, indicating that he was exceeding the posted speed limit.”