Boise Bicycle Project to raise awareness after boy struck by van

BBP working to raise awareness

BOISE -- A Boise child is fighting for his life at a Salt Lake City hospital. Boise Police say the 5-year-old boy was hit by a minivan near Kootenai and Owyhee streets around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Family friends have started a Go Fund Me page for Maximo Wyatt and his parents, Courtney and Joe. Shaylor Sorensen is a friend of the Wyatt's and sent KTVB a statement about Wyatt:

"Maximo is an amazing boy. He is overflowing with excitement, adventure and energy. He has a brilliant imagination and contagious smile that leaves quite an impression. You can't help but have a great time when Max is around."

Sorensen also sent a number of pictures, showing Max after a fun run race and playing with friends. The fundraiser page lists updates, including that Wyatt had surgery to remove his spleen. It says he suffered a collapsed lung and a number of broken bones. As of Thursday afternoon, the fundraiser had garnered over $53,000.

RELATED:Neighbors show support after boy hit on bike

Jimmy Hallyburton is the executive director of the Boise Bicycle Project and a friend of the Wyatt family. He said the family hopes there can be more education about sharing the road safely.

"We've talked to the family quite a bit, the police have not unveiled a report yet but a lot of times the first thing reported is 'Oh, he was wearing his helmet.'" said Hallyburton. "It's great he was wearing his helmet, but that doesn't have anything to do with him getting hit. Helmets help you after you've been hit. Our goal with education is to keep people from getting hit in the first place."

Hallyburton wears a bike spoke that has been bent into a bracelet around his wrist. In a post, Hallyburton explained that Wyatt's mom had made a similar bracelet during a sleepless night at the hospital. Boise Bicycle Project decided it was an idea worth sharing with community. It's a symbol, according to Hallyburton, that means "The Max! No more children hit! We've reached the Max!"

"We try really hard to not call things accidents because a lot of times accidents are unpreventable, they just happen. We really want to start treating these things as crashes," said Hallyburton.

The bracelets and awareness come in conjunction with another project Hallyburton's been pursuing. He wants to create a smartphone app to track every vehicle vs. bike crash in the area, whether the driver or the cyclist was at fault. He says often, crashes do not get reported to police because there isn't a serious injury or damage.

"The problem with that is that when there is no report filed, there is no way of learning from what is really happening, from the close calls out there and from the incidents," said Hallyburton. "So, we really believe a large amount of these crashes are not getting reported whatsoever."

He also wants the app to walk a cyclist through what to do if they are involved in a crash, like who to call, what to take pictures of, and what information to record.

"You are nervous, your adrenaline is going, you don't know what to do," said Hallyburton.

Hallyburton told the story of a young girl who was biking to North Junior High a few weeks ago and was hit by a vehicle. He said the preteen was not injured nor was there significant damage, thus no police report was filed. That is the kind of situation he would want recorded on the app.

"We went out to that intersection immediately," said Hallyburton. "We started watching and we started seeing close calls happening every single day. We said, okay, we have to make sure we report this stuff so that we can actually evaluate what's going on here."

He hopes various city, traffic, and police agencies would use the app to better understand where incidents are occurring.

The team behind the app will meet again in November, and hope to have it ready to go for launch during HackFort at the 2016 TreeFort Festival.

Boise Police told KTVB Thursday they did not have any additional information to release regarding the crash and no charges had been filed.


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