Richland bike shop helps teen get a new set of wheels after hit and run

Months after a Richland teen’s bike was stolen, his new bike is out of commission. He was hit Wednesday afternoon on his way home school. There were no injuries, but the bike is inoperable.

RICHLAND, Wash. — A teen is out of a set of wheels after walking away from a hit and run crash near his middle school. A non-profit and a handful of community members are helping him get back on the road again.

Just months after his bike was stolen, a Chief Joseph Middle Schooler’s new bike is out of commission after getting hit on his way home from drama club. The student wasn’t injured in this crash.

“Eli couldn’t have done anything different. He had lots of reflectors on his bike, he had lights on his bike, he was in a crosswalk, he pushed the button. He did everything right and somebody destroyed his bike,” said Francesca Maier, Secretary of Wheelhouse Community Bike Shop.

Cameras are set up in the intersection of McMurray St. and George Washington Way where the hit and run took place. The driver hasn’t been identified yet.

The back wheel is dented in a way it doesn’t move anymore. Now, the community is stepping in to get him a new bike.

Numerous community members respond to Eli’s situation

Wheelhouse Community Bike Shop, a local non-profit in Richland working to increase accessibility for biking, posted about it online. In less than 24 hours, they heard from half a dozen people asking to help out; even hearing from one person that if they don’t get one that’s rideable, they will take him and his parents out to buy a new bike.

Maier said the majority of riders on the streets are children. Bikes and walking are their only form of independent transportation.

“He uses his bike to go bike to school every day, to bike his sister to zero-hour and then bike himself home from the drama club,” said Maier. “As soon as I knew, I reached out through our Wheelhouse social media and asked if anybody had a road bike.”

The shop doesn’t ask for perfect bikes, because Wheelhouse can fix a lot of problems. Unfortunately, Eli’s bike was made in the 80s. Maier said finding parts needed for his bike would be like getting all of the cherries on a slot machine.

Safety improvements for pedestrians

The City of Richland recently implemented ‘leading pedestrian intervals,’ where pedestrians get four seconds before lights turn green for cars.

“This signal here is what probably saved Eli’s life. It was an improvement the City made last year after a Chief Joe student got struck by a car in this intersection,” explained Maier.

Despite changes and improvements, there’s still a way to go to protect bikers, and anyone crossing these busy streets.

Many community members have reached out to find Eli a good bike.

KAPP-KVEW Local News will bring you an update when Eli is back on the road.

READ: Richland police highlight crosswalk safety as kids return to school