TACOMA, Wash. — Amber Weilert said her son, Michael Weilert, loved to ride his bicycle, and did so every chance he got.
“He loved riding the bike he just built … he just built his bike,” she said. “That’s how he and his friends got around. They’re 13, a couple of them are 14, but that’s what they did.”
That tragically ended on Tuesday when Michael was hit by a car, killing him while he crossed the intersection at of Pacific Avenue and South 134th Street.
Washington State Patrol troopers said Michael was using the crosswalk and activated the crosswalk’s flashing signals, but the driver failed to yield and hit him.
“He was doing everything right, he was doing what he was supposed to be doing,” Weilert said.
Biking advocates around Pierce County have spoken out on Weilert’s death. Noah Struthers runs Second Cycle in Tacoma, and knows how important bikes are in helping people get around.
“I’ve serviced bikes for guys that’re like, I got to get to the Port at 3 a.m. There’s no bus that runs at 3 a.m., so they have to ride a bike to get there,” he said.
Struthers said something needs to be done to make roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Otherwise the fatalities will continue.
“It was a preventable death. He didn’t have to die,” he said. “We need to enforce the rules of the road that we have now with traffic cameras, we need to set up better education for drivers about bicyclists and pedestrians, and we need to engineer our streets to make them safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.”
Meanwhile, Amber simply hopes this tragedy can be avoided.
“I just want to make this safe for his friends and everyone who’s gonna use these streets because I cannot imagine a parent going through this,” she said.
At this time, no arrests have been made. The State Patrol is still completing its investigation and will their forward its findings to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Pierce County, where they will determine if charges are appropriate.
Michael’s friends will be holding a vigil this Saturday at 7 p.m.