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‘Ghost scooter’ to be planted in West End for teen killed in August

A local nonprofit will leave a locked white “ghost scooter” at the corner of Sanger Avenue and North Beauregard Street this Sunday in memory of a 16-year-old killed at the intersection in August.

Miguel Ángel Rivera was riding an electric scooter when he was struck on August 27. He died four days later.

On Sunday (Nov. 20), the Alexandria chapter of Northern Virginia Families For Safe Streets will plant the white scooter and release its transportation improvement recommendations for the city and neighboring jurisdictions.

“The recommendations encourage drivers to slow down and go the posted speed limit,” said Mike Doyle, a founding member of the Northern Virginia Families For Safe Streets. “Doing simple things can save lives. There’s engineering changes, like traffic light changes, to slow drivers down.”

Doyle said that an electric scooter company deactivated the ghost scooter, and allowed for it to be used for this purpose providing that the company brand be removed. The scooter will be locked near the intersection and will stay up for an undetermined period of time.

Mayor Justin Wilson and representatives from the Alexandria Police Department and Alexandria City Public Schools will speak at the event, which will be held in the William Ramsay Elementary School (5700 Sanger Avenue) at 11:30 a.m. The event is part of series recognizing the annual World Day Of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. NoVAFSS will also conduct similar events in Arlington and Fairfax Counties.

Doyle came up with the idea for the nonprofit after recovering from being hit by a car in Old Town in 2016. He was walking home from work and a turning driver didn’t see him crossing.

“He turned left sharply and crashed into me, and he hit me with such force that my forehead put a dent in the hood of his car, which caused a fracture in my forehead and all sorts of issues,” Doyle said. “We have members of our group who are permanently crippled, but what gets me emotional is when I think about how it impacted my wife and the rest of my family and friends.”

In September, Old Town was deemed the most dangerous area for pedestrians in Virginia. There were 68 crashes and 75 injuries, throughout Old Town between 2015 and mid-2022, according to a a study.

There were also two pedestrian crashes last month in the West End.

“Speed kills and speed maims,” Doyle said. “So, if drivers slow down at a turn, there’s a greater chance that they can avoid crashing into somebody.”

Alexandria has a Vision Zero Action Plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities by 2028. Part of the action plan went into effect last month with numerous speed limit reductions in the West End.

Those reductions include:

  • North Beauregard Street (Entire Length) — Reducing the posted speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour (MPH), and the school zone speed limits from 25 to 15 MPH
  • West Braddock Road (North Beauregard Street to Quaker Lane) — Reducing the posted speed limit from 35 to 25 MPH, and the school zone speed limits from 25 to 15 MPH
  • North Howard Street (Lynn House Driveway to Braddock Road) — Reducing the school zone speed limit on North Howard Street from 25 to 15 MPH
  • Seminary Road (Kenmore Avenue to North Pickett Street) — Reducing the school zone speed limit from 25 to 15 MPH
  • King Street (Radford Street to Quincy Street) — Installing a new 15 MPH school zone speed limit

The City also recently approved the installation of speed cameras at five school zones. The cameras were approved after a child was struck and seriously injured at an intersection just outside of Jefferson Houston Elementary School (200 block of North West Street).

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