Rochester Boy Remains Stable After Bike Accident

12-year-old was struck by a car while he was crossing Tienken Road on Tuesday afternoon.

A 12-year-old Rochester boy remained in stable condition Thursday morning, while riding a bike across Tienken Road.

A family friend said he did not suffer any broken bones.

According to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the boy was crossing Tienken Road just east of Rochester Road at 5:12 p.m. Tuesday. He cleared stopped eastbound traffic and entered the westbound lane when he was struck.

He did not cross in a crosswalk.

The driver of the car that struck the boy attempted to brake and steer away from the bicyclist but was unable to avoid a collision, according to a sheriff's news release.

Rochester Patch readers, , expressed  concerns about bike safety in the city — and safety near Tienken Road, specifically.

"Given the proximity of the schools in the neighborhood and the traffic volume on Tienken, it is imperative that the city take actions to prevent such a tragedy from happening again," reader Jessica Opfer wrote.

"Until drivers slow down and become more aware of the foot and bike traffic, this will be an issue," reader Claire Ahearn wrote.

Yvonne September 01, 2011 at 03:52 PM
I have a problem when people say that the "city needs to take action to prevent such a tragedy from happening again." What responsibility do the bike riders have in all of this. We have become a society where we don't need to take responsibility for anything we do because we can always find somebody or something to blame for the consequences of our actions. There are crosswalks in the city they should be using. It's basic responsibility for self, and responsibility for the parents to educate their children on safe and proper ways to ride their bikes and how and where to cross the street.
shannon September 01, 2011 at 03:59 PM
I agree with what Yvonne said!!! There are crossing lights at this intersection, and he did not use them. He is 12 and shouldn't have been biking in the streets alone. I pray for his recovery.
Lisa Hook September 01, 2011 at 04:11 PM
I think that it's a shame that kids are required to walk to Hart and SCHS and cross Tienken. They will be tempted to ride their bikes. It's just not safe. They should be bussed. I know funds are being cut, but that is a very conjested area and middle school-aged kids who have to go quite a distance to cross that street to get to activities and school are going to ride their bikes. It's not the city's responsibility, it's a shame, accidents happen. Prayers to all involved.
Meg Buckley September 01, 2011 at 04:19 PM
It is not the city's fault that the child was hit by a car. He illegally crossed the street. if it was an adult that did the same thing everyone would blame the adult. The cross walk was not that far out of the child's way and if he had obeyed the laws and safely crossed the street he would not have been hit. If the city is going to do anything with this then it should be to educate other children on properly crossing the roads and obeying traffic laws. The child is at fault in this situation.
Yvonne September 01, 2011 at 07:45 PM
A long time ago, I lived in another state and they would not bus you unless you lived 5 or more miles away from the school. It was simple, parents drove their kids to school. And I know, I'm going to hear from all the stressed parents that have work or other things to do. All I have to say is, this is what you signed up for when you decided to become a parent. For many years I negotiated my work start time so I could take my little ones to school. One is now a college graduate (he drove himself all the way to San Diego for a job), and the other one is a sophomore in college.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 07:58 PM
If you read my comments on the previous article, from which my quote was pulled, you will see that my statement that the city take some responsibility was preceded by a run-down of the challenges facing bikers and walkers in the area: a lack of crosswalks except at major (and highly unsafe) intersections, flagrant red light-running and violation of speed limits, and an overall lack of awareness on the part of drivers for the rights of bikers and pedestrians. Many of these issues could be addressed by the cities and/or road commission in the form of traffic calming measures, installation of pedestrian-activated lights, enforcement of basic traffic laws, and, perhaps most importantly, an active education campaign to teach drivers how to SHARE THE ROAD. I do not know the details of this particular accident and cannot comment on whether the child was at fault. However, I can assure you that there is no safe way to cross Tienken between Rochester Rd. and the roundabout (both of which are high-volume intersections with their own perils). There is no sidewalk on the south side of Tienken, and the existing crosswalk at Courtland is virtually useless. The accident could just have easily happened there. Cars simply do not slow down. This is not an isolated incident. I cross Tienken at Courtland frequently on my bike to get to Stony Creek Metropark and the high speeds and traffic volumes combined with poor sight lines make the crossing perilous for children and adults alike.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Yvonne, please read my comments in the previous article and my additional post below. Crosswalks are NOT enough. I am a downtown Rochester resident and frequent biker and walker and I can assure you that I am in just as much danger in a crosswalk as I am making an illegal crossing. Every day I encounter drivers who have a complete lack of respect for the rights of law-abiding bikers and pedestrians. My motto in all things is to "proceed at your own risk" and I would never blame someone else for the consequences of my own actions. But I also have every right to walk and bike the roads of my city without having my life endangered by reckless, speeding, red light-running, distracted drivers who are not obeying the basic rules of the road.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 08:11 PM
The intersection at Rochester Rd. and Tienken is a nightmare for pedestrians and bicyclists - too many cars, moving too fast, paying no attention to non-motorized traffic. Besides, if you are on the south side of Tienken you cannot reach that light safely. I would never cross at such a major intersection if I had a safer alternative, such as a pedestrian-activated light at Courtland. And how exactly are 12-year-olds expected to get to school if they cannot bike the streets alone?
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 08:12 PM
There is no reason to discourage kids from walking or biking to school. It is a healthy activity that promotes good fitness for life. There are much cheaper alternatives to bussing.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Meg, please see my comments below. The accident could just have easily taken place in the crosswalk. ALL roadway users need to be educated.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 08:41 PM
One of the reasons I live where I do is so that my kids will be able to walk and bike to school someday - North Hill, Hart, and Stony Creek. They will be crossing Tienken, and I would like to think that it will be safe for them to do so. But this is not simply about children getting to school - all sorts of walkers and bikers have to get across that road, and it is imperative that we make it safe for everyone.
Jennifer Sennett September 01, 2011 at 08:52 PM
I live in the neighborhood that uses Courtland as an exit to Tienken Road. It is a total mess at Courtland and Tienken. It can take up to 7 mins. to get a left turn out of the subivision at peak times. I have 2 kids - one at SCHS and one at Hart - there is no way either can walk to school. On top of the horrible traffic situation, it is usually dark when we leave for school in the morning - who in their right mind would let their 12 year cross that street on a dark icy morning? I really feel for the driver too. No one wants to be responsible for an accident like that. We need a car/pedestrian activated light at that intersection - much like the one on Adams Rd. at the Shadow Woods subdivision. It doesn't need to run constantly but it would be nice if it at least run when a car or person was trying to get across Tienken or make a left turn.
Nina Misuraca Ignaczak September 01, 2011 at 09:53 PM
The Village of Milford is getting serious about Complete Streets: see their new "sharrow" program they are installing downtown as an inexpensive way to help drivers and bikers to SHARE the road: http://www.meetmeinmilford.com/1/Oakland_County_Michigan/news.asp No, this doesn't address a lack of safe crossings. But it is an important step toward raising awareness. Do we want Milford to surpass Rochester and claim the fame as a the most bikeable community in Oakland County? I think a little cross-county competitiveness is in order!
Keith Sennett September 01, 2011 at 10:01 PM
I feel that the Tienken area is not very bike or pedestrian friendly; trying to cross Tienken at Courtland or at Rochester is very difficult. Why not put traffic light at Tienken and Courtland? Time it with the light at Tienken and Rochester. How many accident/injuries have to occur before something is done? This is definitely not the first pedestrian accident in this area, and if nothing gets done it won’t be the last. It is very frustrating trying to get a left turn out of Courtland especially during rush morning. It is also difficult to time a left turn back into the subdivision. I went to an MDOT meeting and mentioned this and was told there isn’t enough traffic coming in and out of the neighborhood, it isn’t the number of cars going in and out of the neighborhood that is the problem it is the volume of traffic on Tienken and the timing of the lights at the Rochester Road intersection. The traffic seldom lets up. There are only two exits out of the neighborhood and the other takes us too far south for getting to anything that side of town. I guess I don’t understand what the big deal is about putting in a traffic light that will improve both the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
Jessica P. Opfer September 01, 2011 at 10:14 PM
You are absolutely right; the light could be pedestrian and car activated so it would not impede traffic on Tienken when not needed. There may not be a huge amount of VEHICLE traffic coming out of the neighborhood, but they are clearly not taking into consideration the volume of walkers and bikers that use the crossing. Aside from students going to school, I know for a fact that many bikers (myself included) use that route to get from downtown Rochester neighborhoods to the metropark.
Michael Wallis September 02, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Rochester offers opportunities for casual cycling. There are subs for tooling around and pathways along the main roads to take a little ride. In addition, the Paint Creek and Clinton River trails offer a nice experience to enjoy. Stoney Creek is a great place to go for a cruise with the kids. If you are lucky, you have a traffic free way to get downtown and enjoy an outing to the coffee shop, breakfast at Paul's or Coney dogs at Lipuma's. These experiences improve the quality of life for the residents and enhance the desirability of Rochester as a place to live. However, if you use your bike as a tool, Rochester is a poor place to cycle. Most people think of bikes as toys for those activities. However, the bicycle is an efficient machine and it makes excellent commuting device, highly effective piece of fitness equipment and a serious recreational vehicle. Residents who desire to ride their bikes on the roadways for these purposes face hostile motorists and poorly designed, high volume, high speed traffic corridors. This isn't the forum to debate whether or not bikes belong on the road, but for those who don't know it, bikes are legal on roads and motor vehicle operators have a legal obligation to protect "vulnerable road users". The area needs an awareness campaign to educate motorists that "bikes belong" and it needs to adopt a "Complete Streets" policy like those that have been implemented in bike friendly communities such as Traverse City.
CJ Sebert September 02, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Wow, Jessica you are all over this article. My husband is a fire captain and he told me about this after it happened, unfortunately they might transport, but don't always get to hear what happened. I'm so glad that the boy is okay. If Tienken is so busy, with pedestrian and road traffic, which we all know it is..why not put in a overhead cross-walk? Just a thought. There should also be more emphasis on bike safety for drivers and bikers.
CJ Sebert September 02, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Oh, and I totally agree with Michael. With so many people wanting to "go green" don't they realize that using a bike, not just for fun, but as a way of getting around is probably one of the best ways we can do that?
Kathie Diekman September 02, 2011 at 03:26 PM
As a parent of child that was hit crossing Tienken road at the same exact spot, I can not believe the ignorance in some of these statements about parents being responsible enough to drive their kids to school or the fact that the boy was too young to be biking without a parent. The schools make them walkers not us, clearly it would clear up a ton of traffic during school time to bus all our walkers so that all of us parents that "signed up" for this wouldn't be congesting the roads. One bus as opposed to all the parent drivers seems to make more sense to me. Also, please just drive that route and see how unsafe the crosswalk area is. To cross at Rochester road you have to go across 6 lanes and it starts blinking don't walk when you are only half way across. I feel for the driver as well as the family, I have been through this but this is the 3rd kid hit in 3 years, SOMETHING needs to be done, like Jennifers solution.
George September 04, 2011 at 03:46 PM
There are just as many irresponsible bikers as there are auto drivers! Everyone needs to be educated. As for biking, I only do it where there are bike paths and less traffic. As for those who complain about traffic, etc. bikes are only a recent trend for people to travel and to expect there to be enough paths, safe intersections, etc. is naive. Bikes where not a consideration for actual travel when the roads were built! Be realistic and recognize it's not safe to bike in some areas.
Lizzie LaLonde September 05, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I completely understand that there are some areas that are not safe for bikers and that everyone needs to be educated BUT this boy was hit on the route that is considered the safest walking route by the school district and MDOT therefore we do not receiving busing because it is considered SAFE.....
Liz September 05, 2011 at 10:09 PM
This morning driving down Woodward,I stop at the trail to let people cross and I'm the only car that stops. Four cars just go across without looking. When I stopped there were 3 bikes and 2 couples going across the trail. There needs to be a major push in Rochester and the Hills to teach people the rules of bikers and walkers,ASAP. I would like to not think we have that many stupid or uncaring people in this town.
Dorothy September 06, 2011 at 12:53 PM
As a friend of the family - I can assure you that this child was not riding alone. He was accompanied by two other boys who were riding with him back to Hart Middle School. He is home and doing well. He didn't realize that the sidewalk ended. He was waiting to cross and saw the traffic had stopped. (due to the increase in traffic from the bridge construction) He didn't realize that the other west bound lanes were still moving and crossed when he thought it was safe. Unfortunately this happened at the beginning of rush hour. The intersection of Tienken and Rochester is unsafe to cross at any given time due to the double lanes turning left and drivers that do not pay attention. Many walkers and bikers can wait through several lights to feel safe enough to cross. Please do not assume that this child was negligent in proper bicycle etiquette. The driver did everything she could to avoid hitting him and my heart goes out to her as well.
Jessica P. Opfer September 07, 2011 at 02:11 AM
Bicycles have been around as a means of transportation quite a bit longer than cars; it is only that we have forgotten how to share the road. There are certainly irresponsible bikers out there, but they are vastly outnumbered by reckless, distracted drivers who are not following the basic rules of the road. Drivers have a legal responsibility to watch out for non-motorized users.
Jessica P. Opfer September 07, 2011 at 02:13 AM
I see this happening all the time (I live a few blocks away). I have stopped my car at the Clinton River Trail crossing at Dequindre Road to let cyclists and walkers cross and they look at me with such surprise, as if they had never seen a car stop at a crosswalk before! Never mind that it's the law...
Jessica P. Opfer September 07, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Thanks for your clarification of the accident; I suspected something like that. I am so glad the child is doing well.
Karyn Kendall Stanley September 16, 2011 at 03:18 PM
I am so happy that he is alright. I do have to wonder if he was wearing a helmet. This is a huge argument between our daughter and us. She is 12 and because her friends no longer have to wear them she never wants to either and says we are babying her. However, this is one rule we will not give into.
Rochester Mom September 23, 2011 at 11:36 AM
There was a small car accident this mornIng at Courtland and Teinken. Looked like at least one student driver. Add those cars with no street lights, the rain, traffic and crossing guard car and it was not safe for walkers to school (and there was at least one). Something needs to be done for safety.


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