Someone You Should Know: Brandon 11-Year-Old Turns Bicycle Accident into Activism

Ryley McKeown was hit by a car in a crosswalk earlier this month. He's now working to make them safer for everyone else.

BRANDON, S.D. – An 11-year-old Brandon boy is turning a scary bicycle accident into a chance to promote change.

“I’ve been riding without training wheels since I was four years old. Three years old actually.”

McKeown has been riding the streets of Brandon for some time now.

He’s pretty well versed in all aspects of bicycle safety.

“The brakes, the brakes help me. A tip of advice, never press the front brake before you press the back brake. You’ll flip over your handle bars. Been there, done that.”

Ryley tries to be as safe as he can while on the road but he can only control so much.

“I didn’t really see the car, it’s just once it hit me, and my mind just kind of went blank.”

Earlier this month, Ryley was crossing Holly Boulevard at 6th Street after school.

“And I had the green signal to cross, and I started crossing when a guy turned out of the middle school parking lot, and hit me.”

He was pretty shaken up, but not badly hurt.

“I had a few bad bruises, but other than that, things could have been a lot worse.”

Instead of being scared to ride again, Ryley turning the accident into activism.

“We went to a city council meeting to ask for some changes.”

He’s now working with the city to bring more monitoring around crosswalks, and possibly add delays to traffic signals to give pedestrians more time to cross.

His parents have also helped set up a Facebook page to spread the message about crosswalk safety so something like this doesn’t happen to someone else.

“It’s not generally all for me, it’s just I don’t want to see a four year old, an eight year old get hit by a truck when they’re in the middle of a crosswalk because I’m 11 and that hurt a lot.”

As for the man who hit him, Ryley says there are no hard feelings.

“I’ve forgiven him. He didn’t see me, and he hit me. He seemed very sorry about what he did.”

City engineers say they are reevaluating Brandon crosswalks for safety, and working to put a plan together.

More information on Ryley’s story and message of safety can be found here:

Categories: News, News Top Story, Someone You Should Know