Above and Beyond: Fire chief urges caution on busy roadsby jmaloni
by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer
Grand Island Fire Co.
Grand Island Fire Co. Chief Kevin Koch notes that summer-like weather has caused a dramatic increase in highway use by motorcycles, bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, etc. Also, in a few short weeks, hundreds of Island youngsters will finish their school year, adding to burdensome traffic hazards at times.
The GIFC has already encountered an upsurge in related emergency incidents. On Wednesday, May 29, GIFC rescue personnel handled two separate incidents involving bicyclists within a half-hour period. At 6:36 p.m., a 13-year-old Island youth ran into a vehicle at the intersection of Baseline and Grand Island Boulevard. He was treated by GIFC medics for not life-threatening injuries and transported to Women's and Children's Hospital for additional medical evaluation. Shortly thereafter, at 7:04 p.m., 55-year-old Louis Panzica of Grand Island experienced a bicycle malfunction, flew over the handlebars and onto the pavement at East River Road near River Oaks Drive. He was treated for minor extremity injuries and transported to Erie County Medical Center for precautionary follow-up. He stated that his helmet, which cracked upon impact, probably saved him from more serious injury.
Koch notes that motorists must share the roadways with all other users and must be constantly alert to hazards that might be encountered. Common sense defensive driving habits could prevent serious injury or save lives, he stressed.