EDITORIAL — Parents, please: Be sure kids are safe when biking

A few weeks ago, two youngsters were riding a bicycle east on Garfield Avenue toward Davis Avenue in Kearny. 

After reviewing a shocking doorbell cam video of the incident, it is clear the driver of the bike, approaching a stop sign, made little to no attempt to brake and halt for the sign, instead opting to pass a vehicle preparing to make a right turn onto Davis.

But the turn the bike made was a wide one, and it was impossible to get into the proper lane of traffic. Instead, the bike wound up in the northbound traffic lane on Davis — and, horrifically, it wound up getting slammed by an oncoming minivan, sending the two bikers flying and twisting into the air and onto the ground.

Both who were on the bike, we’re told, escaped with their lives. What we saw, however, revealed a scene where it’s unfathomable to think no one was killed. Whether it was how or where the hit happened or any other reasons, it was an absolute miracle both survived.

From the video, it appears neither bike driver, a 17-year-old boy nor the “passenger,” a 16-year-old girl, was wearing a helmet when they were hit June 28. They were coming down the hill at what seemed like an alarmingly high rate of speed.

Several things occurred here that shouldn’t have. First, two people were on one bike. We’re told most bikes are not made with brakes capable of proper stopping when two people are aboard.

The lack of helmets on the riders was quite alarming, too. And it comes as no surprise to some, including Melanie Ryan, of Kearny, who says it’s been her experience that most bikers — regardless of age — ride without helmets, even though they’re required of anyone 17 or younger and recommended for anyone of any age.

So what’ the bottom line here? Do as Kearny Police Chief George King suggested a few weeks ago: Treat riding a bike the same as you would driving a car (presume motorists won’t see you) and wear a helmet regardless of age. And parents, please don’t let your youngsters go out without head protection. The teens in the aforementioned case were very lucky to have survived. Let’s not chance being the next case where tragedy strikes and survival was never really a possibility.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.