In 1971 J. Standard Baker Quoted " Drivers Towing Trailers Are Four (4) Times As Unsafe As Those In Cars Alone!
Published July 19, 2017 at 02:15PM
Parade safety stressed
City manager, police chief, say officials will be discussing ways to make events safer in the wake of Saturday’s accident
Baker City Manager Fred Warner Jr. said city officials will discuss possible new guidelines for parade safety in the wake of Saturday’s float accident that killed 7-year-old Dylan Thomas during the Miners Jubilee parade.
“We are going to continue to have parades in this town, and we don’t want something like this to ever happen again,” Warner said Tuesday.
Besides being city manager, Warner is a member of the Baker County Shrine Club and the organizer of the Shrine parade, set for Aug. 5.
Both the Miners Jubilee and Shrine parades have been summer fixtures in Baker City for more than 30 years.
Although the City Council won’t have time to impose rules before the Shrine parade, Warner said he has already talked with other Shriners about possible changes to this year’s event.
The city requires parade organizers to obtain a permit, but there are no specific requirements regarding the design of floats or other safety rules.
Warner believes the Shriners likely will prohibit lowboy trailers in this year’s parade.
Thomas was riding on that type of trailer, along with several other children on a float sponsored by the Baker County YMCA, when he fell and was run over by the trailer Saturday morning on Second Street at Court Avenue.
Warner said the Shriners will also emphasize a safety precaution that has been in place for the event for many years — requiring parade participants to hand out candy to spectators, or at least walk to the curb and toss the candy, rather than throwing treats from the floats.
That tactic is designed to prevent spectators, in particular children, from running into the street to grab sweets.
Warner said that until Saturday’s tragedy, he had believed kids scrambling into the street to collect candy, and potentially being hit by a float, was the greater danger during a parade.
Now he thinks it’s appropriate for city officials, and parade organizers, to consider all possible threats, whether to spectators or parade participants.
“We want to be very careful about anything that has an exposure to a tire,” Warner said. “We want to take as many (dangerous) variables out as we can. We need to take a hard look.”
He said he has spoken with several city councilors, and considering new parade rules “is high on their minds too.”
Ginger Savage, who with her husband, Kerry, organized the Shrine parade for several years, said Saturday’s accident “is the fear of every person who has been a parade coordinator ever, in any town.”
“Never in a million years do you think about what happened Saturday happening,” Ginger Savage said.
She believes it’s reasonable for city officials to consider new standards that might, for example, require people riding on floats to have a barrier that reduces the chances of someone falling off.
“I think that’s a simple and reasonable request,” Savage said. “We just want to make sure everybody’s safe.”
Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner agrees with Savage and Warner about the need to discuss changes to parade protocols.
“We need to get a group together, sit down and see what we can do as a community to try to come up with something to help enhance the safety,” Lohner said.
See more in the July 19, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.
As typical speak and action we have become a nation that does nothing until the lawsuits pile on. Time and time again these localities all talk a good game but in the end more children and more adults are going to die Nationwide by these unsafe and poorly managed parades and hayrides. The only way to "Compel" change and save lives is to produce so many massive lawsuits that these clueless localities are forced into saving lives.
We have been trying to address this critical issue for over 10 years and all we keep getting is road blocks from our political safety leaders.