Local bicycle riders are taking a stand on Saturday to honor all those who’ve been injured or killed by distracted motorists.
The Ride of Honor and Cycling Rally will be from 10 to 11 a.m. on May 19 at the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., to build awareness for cycling, promote sharing the road and safe cycling, and to show lawmakers the importance of cycling and distracted driver and vulnerable user bills.
The rally comes in response to three East Valley riders being hit and critically injured recently by a driver who was reportedly adjusting her GPS device.
Sterling Bauer, co-founder of Not One More Foundation, which provides funding for critically injured cyclists or their families if the cyclist is killed, says incidents like this are all too common. Their goal with this rally is to not only honor those who have been hit or killed but to celebrate National Bicyclists Month and encourage legislators to create steeper penalties for distracted drivers.
“We need some fairly stiff penalties to not only deter but when you have an infraction, to make sure it’s enforced,” Bauer said. “There’s got to be some way to reduce these horrible and senseless acts on our roads.”
Bauer first got involved in advocating for cyclists when a member of his own cycling club was hit and killed in Mesa. He reached out to all the cyclists he knew and held a Ride of Honor in his honor. Bauer says about 500 cyclists showed up for that event in 2006 and when asked if they had ever had an incident with a distracted motorist, at least 75 percent of those present said that they had.
Sometime later a local single mother was hit on her bike and injured to the point where she could not work anymore. That’s when Not One More Foundation began. Cyclists from across the Valley stepped up to help pay her rent, walk her dogs, clean her house, and basically get her back on her feet. Since then, they’ve continued that tradition with other injured cyclists and have also begun lobbying the Legislature.
“We have a 3-foot law that was put on the books about eight years ago and it’s simply not being enforced,” Bauer said. “There are almost zero citations being issued across our municipalities over the years. With 2,000 cyclists being hit on an annual basis — yes, there will be some caused by the cyclist — but in general the majority of them are caused by inattentive drivers swerving into lanes or making right-hand turns and hitting someone broadside who happens to be in the lane crossing.”
For this Ride of Honor, Not One More Foundation has created a Facebook event page. Local teams and groups have set up meet-up locations across the Valley where cyclists can meet and ride about 10 miles to the State Capitol. There is no set Ride of Honor route. Those who cannot ride or do not wish to are still welcome to join the group.
For more information on Not One More Foundation, visit notonemorecyclist.com.
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