Two Israeli Children Killed While Riding Their Bicycles on Yom Kippur

Since 2008, 31 children have been killed while riding their bicycles on Yom Kippur

Cyclists on the streets of Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur, Wednesday, October 9, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

Two children were run over and killed while riding their bicycles on Yom Kippur Wednesday. Israel's streets are nearly empty during the holy day and residents enjoy walking and riding without cars.

One, an 8-year-old boy, was hit by a car while riding across the Jabotinsky- Namir intersection in Tel Aviv. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition and later died of his injuries.

The second, a 10-year-old boy, was hit by a motorcycle on Route 443, not far from the Ben Shemen. He suffered serious head injuries and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but was pronounced dead on arrival. 

Police are investigating both accidents. The driver of the car in the first accident, a 20-year-old man from Ramle, was detained for questioning, while the motorcycle driver was taken to Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot with mild injuries. 

A medical professional said the 8-year-old boy’s parents were in a Tel Aviv synagogue when the fatal accident occurred. The boy was with a friend, who ran to get help.

Based on initial investigation, police said the driver apparently didn’t see the boy riding his bike in the intersection. The driver, who waited by the scene of the accident until police arrived, will probably be brought to court for a bail hearing on Thursday. His blood was tested for drugs and alcohol – which is standard procedure in all accidents involving injuries – but there is no indication that he was under the influence of either.

According to the child safety organization Beterem – Safe Kids Israel, three children have been killed riding bikes since the start of the year, and 48 over the last decade. Since 2008, 31 children have been killed during Yom Kippur. 

“Unfortunately, the data shows that there has been a significant increase in bicycle accidents on Yom Kippur,” Beterem’s CEO, Orly Silbinger, said. “Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injuries by 90 percent and can save lives. A helmet should be worn on every ride.”

Altogether, the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated 2,491 people nationwide on Yom Kippur, and 1,852 of them were taken to the hospital for further treatment. 

Of the people treated this year, 268 either fainted or got dehydrated while fasting. Dozens of them were in synagogue at the time. In addition, ambulances picked up 140 women in labor, three of whom gave birth before reaching the hospital. 

Another 258 suffered injuries while using bicycles, electric bikes, electric scooters, roller skates, skateboards or rollerblades, while 22 people were injured in car accidents.

Twenty-four people were injured by acts of violence, including a 34-year-old man who was shot in Jaljulya and pronounced dead on the spot and a 30-year-old man who was stabbed in Segev Shalom and taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva in serious condition.

MDA also reported that one of its ambulances was stoned on Route 75, near the Hashomrim Junction.

The ambulance service also said that due to the high number of injuries over the holiday, it has a shortage of blood, especially type O and Rh-negative blood of all types (0, A, B and AB) and urged the public to donate.