Mother of student killed in scooter accident supports Cape helmet ordinance

Monday, December 10, 2012
Meg Herndon, left, and her mother, Cindi Herndon after a Cardinals game May 12 in St. Louis. (Submitted photo)

Meg Herndon, a member of the Southeast Missouri State University soccer team, was hit by a truck while driving her scooter Sept. 9. She wasn't wearing a helmet and died Sept. 20 from brain injuries.

Since the tragedy, her mother, Cindi Herndon, has supported the ordinance passed by the Cape Girardeau City Council on Nov. 5 stating that all scooter drivers must purchase insurance, wear helmets and drive on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or lower. She has posted comments and mentioned how much it has meant to her on a Caring Bridge website created in Meg Herndon's name. Caring Bridge is an organization that allows people to create web pages where they can post health condition updates.

On Nov. 16, the ordinance went into effect, and Cindi Herndon wrote on the Caring Bridge website that she applauds the city of Cape Girardeau for recognizing the issue. She said she'd love to see the support go to a state-level.

Q: Where do you work and what do you do?

A: I'm a nurse and an assistant manager of the St. Louis Pediatric emergency room, which is a trauma center. I do management and clinicals, working in the emergency rooms, which may be good and bad for me. But I've seen a lot of senseless deaths that could've been prevented. I'm an advocate whenever it comes to helmets, seat belts and whatever we can do to protect [people].

Q: How does it make you feel that the ordinance passed recently, requiring scooter owners to wear helmets?

A: I'm excited for it. Everyone needs to be protected if they are going to be on the main roads. I know a lot of people don't believe in those rights, but it's just like wearing a seat belt and driving an ATV. I work at a pediatric center, so I've always been a safety advocate.

Q: You said it was a small step and you would love to see it go further in the state in a passage on caringbridge.org. What exactly is that next step?

A: I see, following what Cape did, being a college town, they recognize that there is an increased accident rate. It took a devastating accident and probably won't be the only one. Everybody you see driving scooters now, they're doing it. There needs to be some sort of protection. Same goes with ATV safety, that's huge too. I think Cape took a big step.

Q: What was your involvement with the ordinance?

A: I actually had no involvement in it. I didn't even know about it until after I saw it posted on Facebook and Twitter. I know an article said it was brought forward by someone. I had nothing to do with it though. It sounded like it had been a topic previous to the accident.

Q: How does it feel that they are going to honor Meg at (Saturday's Southeast) graduation?

A: This is a big honor. The fact they're doing all of this, I'm very touched. I think it says a lot to the school community as well. The nursing department is actually doing a pinning reception, and the student athletes will have a reception the night before graduation, too. I'll be at all of that.

Q: I think people would like to know, how have you and the rest of the family been?

A: Everything's day by day, every day's a struggle. Today [Nov. 29] marks 10 weeks exactly when she passed away. Unfortunately, we have to get up the next day. Her brother and sister are moving and getting back into things.

Thanksgiving was rough and Christmas will be even harder, but I try to think of what we can do to remember her, like the scholarship, then what can we do to increase the awareness of scooter safety? There are precautions that everyone needs to be aware of. You can't stop all of that stuff. It's about knowing the safety precautions. We want to increase the awareness.

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