Project in the Works to Widen Altoona Sidewalks, Keep Areas Safe for Bicyclists

ALTOONA, Iowa  --  A busy intersection at SW 8th Street and 36th Avenue in Altoona is the site of two different accidents in which bicyclists were hit by cars.

The accidents happened less that two weeks apart. One of the victims is currently in critical condition, and the other suffered minor injuries.

“Always to watch for cars because they don’t always see you,” Altoona resident Rachel Moses said.

That’s something Moses reminds her kids every time they head out on their bikes.

“We have seven kids, and we don’t let them ride up and down here, it's just too dangerous,” Moses said.

Over the weekend, a 19-year-old was hit while biking across the crosswalk. Police say he suffered minor injuries, and the driver fled the scene.

At the end of May, 13-year-old Owen Martin was hit while biking across the street; he is now in critical condition. Police say the driver involved in that incident cooperated and will not be cited.

Police say neither of the bicyclists were wearing helmets.

“The first one was during our pretty heavy traffic, not at a controlled intersection. This one on the 10th was at a controlled intersection with lights and at 12:30 in the morning, so a little bit different time frame,” Altoona Police Sergeant Brett Handy said.

Moses hopes the accidents serve as a warning and reminder for others.

“Watch out for kids. They're everywhere, especially in this area,” Moses said.

The city of Altoona is aware of the problem, and a $20 million redevelopment project is now in the works to make sidewalks wider and more biker-friendly. That project is expected to break ground next summer.