The mother of a teenager killed while riding his bicycle late at night last month wants to bring more awareness for bicycle safety and bike-friendly infrastructure.
Aaron Pereznegron, 18, was struck June 11 while riding his bicycle near the 4800 block of West Main Street around 3 a.m. and later died in the hospital, police said.
It’s a tragedy Pereznegron’s mother, Cindy Gomez hopes to prevent from happening to others.
“It’s not the first accident that happened on that road,” Gomez said. “There’s very bad lighting there.”
There’s other instances of accidents that illustrate League City’s need for better street lighting and pedestrian safety infrastructure across the city, Gomez said.
River Russell, 19, for example, died after being struck on FM 270 while riding his skateboard in the early morning June 24, police said.
Gomez doesn’t want another accident like this one or her son’s to happen, she said.
Pereznegron had just graduated from Clear Springs High School and the family was planning a trip to Mexico City to celebrate before the accident, Gomez said.
That night, Pereznegron was trying to visit a friend who he was worried might try to take her life, Gomez said.
“I told him to send her the suicide hotline because professionals needed to help her,” Gomez said. “He promised me that he was just going to go to bed and pack.”
League City is quickly growing and Gomez is worried that the city can’t keep pace with the infrastructure needed to protect the increasing number of bicyclists she’s seeing, she said.
“Maybe we can also encourage the city to make bike lanes, which don’t exist,” Gomez said. “It’s not bicycle-friendly here.”
The city’s main plans right now aren’t for bike lanes, but for multi-use hike and bike trails that are separated from the streets, city Director of Parks and Culture Services Chein Wei said.
These off-road trails typically aren’t lighted because they run through residential areas or along easements, Wei said.
These plans are driven by resident comment, which expressed a desire for more hike and bike trails, Wei said.
There is one long bike lane in planning stages through a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, likely along state Highway 3, Wei said.
Gomez also wants people to be more aware of bicycle safety, she said.
Her son wasn’t wearing a helmet the night he was hit, even though she told him of the importance of safety gear, Gomez said.
“I’m not sure if that would have helped at all,” Gomez said. “Maybe a little. But I know that more children need to be aware of the safety of wearing helmets and safety gear for riding bikes.”
Teenagers and younger children need to learn it’s important to be visible to drivers when they’re skateboarding or riding bicycles at night, said Damian Valentine, president of the Young Kings Mentoring Organization, based out of Houston.
Pereznegron was a part of the organization and Valentine mentored him.
“It’s cool to be seen,” Valentine said. “A lot of kids are skateboarding now. They’re out late. That’s their thing.”
A lover of music, Pereznegron wanted to get involved in audio recording once he graduated, Valentine said.
Pereznegron and his younger brother, Adam Pereznegron, played music with the Young Kings group, Valentine said.
He loved music from the 1980s and was becoming more confident with his performing, Gomez said.
“He was at the point where he was getting out of his shell,” Gomez said.
Gomez hopes to connect with others who are interested in bicycle safety in League City, she said.