In loving memory of
Zander Toulouse 2000-2008
"The Little Professor"
What happened?

Last updated: 8/13/2009

News Accounts from the Day

-> New York 1 - Video with eyewitness account.

-> 1010 WINS - Radio report with eyewitness accounts.

-> WNBC - Images of the scene after the accident.

-> Daily News - Daily News stores about Z's death.

My response

Many people have sympathized with us over the cruel character of some of the comments made in response to the 'Daily News' story.

Suffice to say, if I were asked to weigh the benefits to the public of opening up an online forum on the death of a child against the pain this can cause the child's parents, I would say to stop the practice because it compounds the parents' ordeal to have their personal tragedy made into a feast for the kind of shallow and spiteful souls who used Zander's death as an excuse to exorcise their own personal demons. These people simply bring shame on their own heads by parading their heartlessness.

Obviously, Zander's death is now the subject of a law suit against the Post Office, so there's only a limited amount I can say here, even one year later.

One issue I do want to address is cycling with your child. You have to cycle ahead of your child and the reasons are obvious to any one who has ever done it. (1) It's easier for motorists to see you than your child. (2) You have to help them avoid broken glass. (3) If you ride behind them and talk to them, they'll look back, and they can't ride forward slowly in a straight line and look back (it's a 'walk and chew gum at the same time' thing) - only you can do that. Besides, in New York City, such are the highway laws about cycling with children (which we always followed), that the vast majority of the time, you are not cycling in front of or behind your child, you are cycling in parallel to them because they are on the sidewalk and you are in the street.

I also want to state that the bike lane we were in that day is one of the safer kind (not up against parked cars) and that it was a Saturday, so the road was lightly trafficked.

I think it's a shame that some 'Daily News' readers should have attributed Zander's death to the arrogance of cyclists. I agree that cyclists are often rude and reckless, but we were not, and I would point out that there are going to be more and more cyclists on the roads over time, and that drivers are going to have to learn to look for bike lanes.

It's also a shame that certain parents should have attributed Zander's death to the very act of cycling in public. I understand that this is in part a natural response to anxiety about the safety of your child, but I would point out that swimming, skating, and especially driving with your child are potentially equally as dangerous, and that all of us dependent at one time or another, every day, on others being as careful as we are.

If there's a lesson in Zander's death, it's not to do with bikes, it's to do with turn signals. If the Post Office van had been signaling a right turn, I would have waited at the corner because I know drivers do not always look for cyclists. That way we might have avoided what turned into a tragedy for everyone concerned.

Copy of the Traffic Court Judgment

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