An aspiring Ahwatukee Foothill triathlete, Adam Folts, was injured Tuesday afternoon when a vehicle driven by a 17-year-old Desert Vista student rear-ended him on Pecos Road near 32nd Street.
According to a Corinne Frayer, also a triathlete in Ahwatukee Foothills, Folts was knocked into the vehicle’s front windshield by the force of the impact.
Frayer said Folts received scrapes and bruises, but no broken bones, although his helmet was knocked off in the impact and he now has staples in his scalp.
In 2004 retired engineer Don Anselmo, 68, was also struck from behind and went through a windshield, while riding on Pecos Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bicyclists and motorists share Pecos Road on a daily basis, but not without some fear.
“It’s pretty scary because the speed limit is 50, but nobody goes 50,” said Frayer, a former reporter with the Ahwatukee Foothills News. “There is a white line, but there’s no rumble stripes, no barricades, just those little tiny signs that say ‘Share the road.’”
Over the years Pecos Road has been the scene of some dramatic crashes between vehicles, bicyclists and even joggers.
“There is no protection for us when out on the road,” said Steve Donaldson of Ahwatukee Foothills. “Our lives are in the driver’s hands.”
A few weeks ago, Donaldson, a former 2003 USA Track and Field 400-meter national champion, formed Cyclists Against Reckless Drivers (CyclistAgainstRecklessDrivers.org) to help in this sort of crisis, by providing assistance to injured bicyclists, including food, transportation and meals.
He also plans to help lobby for stiffer penalties when it comes to vehicles crashing into bicyclists.
“The only law existing for cyclists is the 3-foot law. It was enacted in 2000 with the assistance of Gene Gorman in Tucson. Her son was killed by an uninsured motorist, who received a $66 fine,” Donaldson said.
That law requires motorists, when overtaking and passing a bicyclists, to give the rider at least a 3-foot safety margin, or face up to a $500 fine.
Data from the city’s Streets Department shows that from 2004 to 2007 – the last year data is available – bicyclist injuries in Phoenix dropped from 493 to 407.
In the past, Phoenix police have cracked down on speeders along Pecos Road to help reduce crashes and injuries by enforcing the 50 mph speed limit. But once the crackdown was over, speeds began to creep back up.
“People get the feeling that they are out in the open and that (Pecos Road) is long and straight and open on both sides and people get too comfortable, and that 50 just isn’t fast enough,” Phoenix police officer Rick Tamburo said.