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Vehicle Strikes 12-Year-Old Student on Bike Near Buddy Taylor Middle

| January 29, 2019

The intersection at Pritchard Drive and Belle Terre Parkway. The path from Buddy Taylor Middle School is heavily used by students on foot and on bikes. (© FlaglerLive)

The intersection at Pritchard Drive and Belle Terre Parkway. The path from Buddy Taylor Middle School is heavily used by students on foot and on bikes. (© FlaglerLive)

A 12-year-old student bicycling south from Buddy Taylor Middle School this afternoon was struck and injured by a vehicle at the Belle Terre Parkway-Pritchard Drive intersection in Palm Coast.

The boy, who was bleeding from the head at the scene, was taken by ambulance to AdventHealth Palm Coast with non-life-threatening injuries. The incident took place just before 1:45 p.m. Larry Earl Reneker, 71, of Flagler Beach was at the wheel of the 2010 Toyota Camry that struck the bicycle.

A Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson said driver was issued a citation for failing to yield at a crosswalk. (Before he was identified, the driver in an earlier report was incorrectly referred to as a woman.)

According to the sheriff’s crash report, Reneker was stopped at the stop sign on Pritchard, waiting for a break in traffic on Belle Terre to make a right turn, going north. The cyclist was traveling south on the path on the east side of Belle Terre. He stopped at the path’s stop sign. When the cyclist saw that the Camry was stopped, he proceeded on south. He was in the painted crosswalk when Reneker pulled forward, colliding with the bicycle.

Reneker told the investigator that he had initially looked left and right but was concentrating on traffic approaching from the left, and did not look right again before proceeding forward, according to the crash report. The report states the boy had “scratches and swelling, abrasions on the left elbow, and a possible broken leg.”

“I do know he was not wearing a helmet and he had some scrapes on his face,” the spokesperson said of the student. “He was complaining about his leg hurting.”

Administrators at Buddy Taylor Middle were contacted, as were the boy’s parents, one of whom rode with him in the ambulance. Earl Johnson, a senior member of the superintendent’s staff, was at the scene. “It does not seem like it was serious injuries,” the spokesperson said.

Belle Terre Parkway northbound was reduced to one lane in the area of Pritchard, but the scene was cleared within an hour of the wreck. The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Palm Coast Fire Police and the sheriff’s office were at the scene.

It was the first crash involving a child on a bike on Flagler streets since September 2016. That September crash took place on a Saturday in a residential neighborhood, outside the scope of school hours. But today’s crash brought back memories of the 2015-16 school year, when seven Flagler County students were involved in collisions with vehicles during morning or after-school hours, most of them on bicycles, one of them, a 7-year-old girl.  The 7-year-old girl was crossing a street while awaiting a school bus and was killed by a passing car. All the other collisions involved cyclists, and resulted in minor injuries.

The crashes prompted school and Palm Coast officials to launch awareness campaigns and redesign a few bus stops. A traffic-safety committee continues to meet monthly, with School Board member Andy Dance leading it. The majority of crashes between vehicles and students on bikes were due to driver error, however, not student error.

Jason Wheeler, a school district spokesman, noted the long span of time since the last crashes as reflective of safety efforts since, but said today’s crash is a reminder to drivers and riders to be cautious, and for drivers to be especially aware of foot and bicycle traffic at the start and the end of the school day.

9 Responses for “Vehicle Strikes 12-Year-Old Student on Bike Near Buddy Taylor Middle”

  1. Agkistrodon says:

    Truly sad that this child was injured. I have to say, living off of Pritchard, I REGULARLY see people in cars failing to slow down, when Pedestrians/Bicyclist are present. Yes the speed limit is 30 in neighborhoods, BUT, If there are pedestrians/bicyclist present, if I am not mistaken, you are supposed to slow down to a SAFE speed. I regularly have people nearly run me over while walking my dogs, cause THEY are in a hurry. GET UP EARLIER. I have had quite a FEW drivers on Pritchard PASS me, while I was going 30, because they felt I was “holding them up” And if it is NOT part of the speed limit law to slow when pedestrians are present, COMMON COURTESY says you should slow down. If things do not change this will SURELY happen again. This isn’t NYC, or Houston, or LA, do the damn speed limit.

  2. Concerned Citizen says:

    I am glad the child will recover and hopefully all will be more cautious.

    I would like to pint this out. While a good number of accidents are the drivers fault some end up being the students.

    School parking on my street is miserable. Parents park in the roadway in front of the stop sign at a busy intersection. Making a right hand turn is nearly impossible as you have to negotiate around cars and kids in the middle of the road.. They have been asked to move by residents and one father got very beligerent.

    I guess it’s OK to illegally park and do what you want. Sheriff’s Office has been called several times and they do nothing. Only a matter of time before an accident happens.

    Likewise the same parents let their children run back and forth across the street. Kids ride bikes thru driveways and yards and cut into traffic. Again something has been said by numerous residents and parents get confrontational.

    Parents we don’t want to see your children get hurt nor do we want to be responsible for an accident. This could all be preventable by better manners and respect.

    I understand providing comfort for your child while waiting on the bus during inclement weather. I also understand making sure your child is safe waiting on the bus. But do you really need to sit on the edge of your seat with your door open and let your kid run around when the weather nice and you live 4 doors down?

    We aren’t asking your kids to stand like statues at the stop nor are we asking you to not wait with your kids for the bus. Just exercise a little respect when you do it.

  3. Richard says:

    I’ll bet a million to one that the vehicle driver was looking left to make a right turn while never stopping at the stop sign to look left then right then left before entering Belle-Terre Pkwy. When I took driver’s education back in the 60’s that procedure was drummed into us. However here in Florida no one stops for any stop sign or when turning right on red. It’s like those traffic control devices never exist. Everyone is in such a hurry to get nowhere FAST. And a young boy on a bicycle nearly lost his life because of it.

  4. Steve says:

    Hope the kids alright

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why was he allowed to leave campus on a bicycle not wearing a helmet? How many cops passed him on Belle Terre? Drivers need to look out, but we also need better enforcement of the helmet law. Wearing a helmet is the simplest way to prevent injury. You’re not cool because you don’t wear a helmet.

  6. Just my two cents says:

    That’s because the road test is a JOKE in Florida! Up NORTH you drive with real traffic to take the road test! Not in some ridiculous area that’s gated in or a parking lot!

  7. Chris says:

    Spot on. These idiots understand many four letter words – stop is just not one of them. When your wheels stop turning, your vehicle is stopped. The amount of arrogance, ignorance and plain stupidity is worrying.
    Maybe the Sheriff’s office can help some of these people by charging their bank accounts. Word might get around. Or not.

  8. rlo says:

    The school can not track all bike riders at dismissal as dismissal involves around 900 kids.. This kid is 12, I am sure he can remember to wear his helmet if he WANTS too. Yes, drivers need to super careful too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    900 kids, the vast majority of whom ride the school bus or get picked up. There may be a couple dozen bike riders and the bikes are kept at a central location. All it takes is a little supervision to correct the problem. Why make excuses? No helmet = you ride the school bus home, and you can come back to get your bike when you have a helmet.

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