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Mother of 14-year-old hit by car says changes to intersection needed

Jaida Conway is healing up after she was hit by a car on Old Hope Princeton Way Sept. 18
Jaida Conway, 14, on her third and last day in hospital after she was hit by a car when biking across Old Hope Princeton Way Sept. 18. (Submitted photo)

A 14-year-old from Hope is recovering after she was hit by a car at a crosswalk that her mother says is in need of improvements.

“It was the scariest thing any of us have ever been through,” said Tara Goulah of the experience. She arrived minutes after her daughter, Jaida Conway, had been hit by a vehicle while riding her bike across the intersection at Old Hope Princeton Way and 5 Avenue on the evening of Sept. 18.

As Conway was crossing the street from the McDonald’s side over to Ryder Street, there was a car parked in the centre lane obstructing her view of the traffic on the far side of the street. The driver didn’t see Conway until it was too late – the driver slammed on her brakes and slid into the back end of Conway’s tire.

A friend was nearby and saw it happen, she told Goulah. “She didn’t see the car hit her, but by the time she looked she just saw Jaida roll down the road.” The friend held Conway’s hand until her mother arrived.

When she arrived Goulah said her daughter was suffering from a concussion. She was coming in and out of consciousness and as Goulah held her hand she asked repeatedly “Mom, am I going to die?”

Conway had a lump on her head the size of a small baseball and she was taken to hospital in Abbotsford shortly after. Doctors told the family she was lucky the car hit her bike and not her body.

“She’s doing a lot better, she’s still sore and she’s still got a lot of bumps and bruises and scrapes,” Goulah said. Her family was unsure whether she would be able to go back to playing hockey this winter, they found out Monday that she has been cleared to do so.

Goulah said that intersection needs to have a better crosswalk with flashing lights, especially with more children in the neighbourhood following the opening of the 40-unit Ryder apartment building. “There needs to be some sort of change on that road because crossing it is almost impossible sometimes,” Goulah said. Her daughter, through her mom, had just one message: “I just want people to slow down and pay attention.”

Hope RCMP Staff Sgt. Karol Rehdner said this incident is under investigation and so far no charges have been laid. He added that rain and darkness that night may have been factors as he urged people to be aware when driving.

“If it’s a local area, familiarity sometimes breeds complacency,” he said. “Always be alive to the fact that there’s going to be people on the roadways – be it pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles.”

While Conway is healing up, she still hasn’t gotten back on a bike and she can no longer ride hers as the back end is totalled.

“She’s very, very, very lucky, because she wasn’t wearing a helmet,” Goulah said, stressing that she sees so many children riding without helmets.

“It was traumatizing, my mom is still calling me late at night. She’s having dreams about it,” Goulah said. “And I just think every kid needs to wear a helmet or parents need to enforce it more because that was so close. It could have been way, way worse.”

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