District 69 bicycle safety rally held in memory of Skokie boy
Skokie Police Explorer Greg Singer, 18, starts Mireya Maiewski, 3, through a straight-riding test June 3 during Skokie's annual Bicycle Safety Day at Oakton Park. | Brian O'Mahoney~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:26PM
Roughly 400 residents on June 3 peddled and walked their way through Skokie to honor a young boy who died doing what he loved: riding his bike.
Officials at Madison Elementary School planned the community bicycle ride in memory of Carter Vo, an 8-year old whose life was cut short May 21 after being struck by a motorist who now faces criminal charges.
“We knew we wanted to do something special as a school,” said Madison School Principal Chelsey Maxwell. “It was very fitting because biking was (Vo’s) favorite thing to do.”
Immediately following the accident officials of Skokie/Morton Grove School District 69 began contemplating a child-centered event to remember the second-grader. That’s when children began telling Maxwell about their newfound fears of bike riding.
Though additional precautions on Vo’s behalf would not have prevented the tragedy, Maxwell said she saw an opportunity to educate children and parents about bicycle safety and to help them become comfortable about riding once again.
Coincidentally, Skokie’s annual Bicycle Safety Day had been just around the corner. So the school planned the memorial ride to complement the village’s activities.
Emergency responders escorted participants on the warm Sunday morning from the school, at 5100 Madison St., to Oakton Park, where members of the Skokie Park District, and Police and Fire departments, promoted pedestrian and traffic safety.
The mile ride showcased the village’s newly landscaped bike path, Maxwell said, and helped draw a much larger crowd for the annual safety event compared with years past.
She said Mayor George Van Dusen and Police Chief Anthony Scarpelli have indicated they would like to see the memorial ride turn into a yearly feature of Bicycle Safety Day.
“It was our healing event,” Maxwell said of the bike.
The motorist held responsible for the fatal accident, Hanin Goma, 23, of the 5000 block of Wright Terrace, Skokie, was charged with a felony count of aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs. She also was cited with failure to yield at a stop intersection and failure to provide proof of valid insurance.