Monday, May 21, 2012

Not One More

 Every cyclist in the Phoenix area and community have been talking about the horrible accidents that have seriously injured, and/or killed far too many cyclists in the past year.  I have to admit, until this past year I was not aware of the magnitude of this problem.  Ever since last year when our local pro runner turned pro triathlete and icon, Sally Meyerhoff was struck by and truck and killed during a training ride, it seems like these tragedies are happening more frequently.

Maybe it's because I'm aware of this situation more, maybe it's because of the amazing awareness that people like those of the "NOT ONE MORE" foundation are getting out there.  Maybe it's because these accidents are starting to hit a little bit too close to home….

Our most recent death of a cyclist happened 3.8 miles from my house.  Yes, I know the exact distance because it's a road I ride my bike or run on 3-5 days per week.  The road has a great bike lane, stop lights and a lot of local foot, bike, and auto traffic.  It's near a school, a community center and access to some of our most beautiful desert trails.  It's a safe road.  Or, so we thought.

A man was struck by a distracted driver during the middle of the afternoon, while following all traffic laws, in the bike lane and wearing a helmet.  People lost their father, husband, brother, friend…

A couple of weeks later a group of 3 guys were out on a short training ride in Mesa.  They were struck from behind by yet another distracted driver.  They too were following all traffic and safety laws, but there was no warning, no way to avoid being struck.  This time, for me, this wasn't just another local citizen that was struck.  This time, this was personal.  The leader of the ride (front rider) is a very very good friend of mine.  Someone I've known for ~ 10 years.  My old teammate from my first running & triathlon team.  Shane's running/training partner.  I've met at his house before, and ridden my bike with him on that same road he was struck, and nearly killed on…

Yes this one was too, too close to home.

Prayers were answered and the 3 cyclists overcame life threatening injuries, and while they will be on a very very long road to recovery, they are thankfully all with us here today.

This past Saturday, a group called "NOT ONE MORE"  organized an event, Ride of Honor and Cycling Rally to:
* Building Awareness for Cycling
* Promote Sharing the Road and Safe Cycling
* Show Lawmakers that Cycling is Important to their constituents to pave the way for legislative change, including  Distracted Driver statutes and Vulnerable User bills.


There were several meetup places throughout the valley where large groups of teams, clubs, friends and strangers met up and rode together to our capital for the rally.  It was an amazing site looking at all of the cyclists coming together for our community.

At 10am we met for speeches from the event organizers, state representatives as well as the 3 injured athletes above.  It was something I will never forget.  It was moving, it was disheartening, it was a reality check seeing some of the names on the list of those cyclists that weren't so lucky...
If you take nothing else away from reading this, or if you were fortunate enough to take part in this rally, just remember that one of those names could be you, or me, or that training buddy you just talked to on the phone making plans for your next ride.  Be safe, follow the law both in your car, as well as on your bike.


4 comments:

Michelle Simmons said...

Got chills. Glad you got to do that ride!

Robin said...

Wow ... it really does happen more often than we think. A man that ran with my running group was killed a couple of years ago on a normal Saturday morning run but a newspaper truck because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Accident, but could have been prevented. Sad.

Dara Schulenberg said...

Krista:

Thanks for sharing your experience at the Rally on Saturday. I am glad you were able to join us and were touched by the testimonies and plans for legislative action.

We'd invite you and all your training partners, team mates and blog readers to consider signing up for our e-mail alerts to continue to stay involved and proactively be heard in changing the status quo on the road. Sign up is available on our website (http://www.notonemorecyclist.com) and our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/NotOneMore).

Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

Ride Safe!
Dara Schulenberg, Co-Founder
Not One More Cyclist Foundation

tejasrunnergirl said...

Wow, that's so sad and sobering. I'm so glad your friends are going to be okay.