PHOENIX - Advocates are pushing the city officials to make Phoenix's bike lanes safer, after a Downtown Phoenix Ambassador was killed while riding his bike home from work.
We first reported on the accident involving Hans Hughes in August. Police say Hughes was hit while riding his bike on Aug. 20 at 1st and Fillmore Streets in Downtown Phoenix. They say the person behind the wheel was cited for driving under the influence.
Weeks later, Hughes showed signs of improvement. In a Sept. 6 Facebook post, Hughes’ sister said he was awake, responding and off a ventilator. Over a weekend, however, close friend and former co-worker Lauren Potter said in a GoFundMe post that Hughes' condition has rapidly declined, and said his heart stopped for more than 20 minutes before he was resuscitated.
Hughes passed away at Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix on Sept. 21.
"One of the most devastating blows I can think of for our community," said Potter. "Hans was one of the most kind, pure-hearted, just amazing people that I know. He just embodied love and kindness."
"He was so welcome, so inviting, and just made people feel like they were meant to be there," said a friend, identified only as ‘Sara.'
Advocates: City needs to do more to protect bicyclists
In the area where Hughes was struck, there is a clear painted lane and lines to separate drivers and bicyclists, but downtown advocates say the city needs to go further in protecting bicyclists and saving lives.
"The fact that a Downtown Ambassador was killed while biking home is a big deal," said Annie Eldon with the group Phoenix Spokes People.
Phoenix Spokes People has launched a petition that calls for the city to construct a protected bike lane on Fillmore Street, between 7th Avenue and 7th Street. Eldon said the group would also like the city to create a continuous, protected bike lane on 3rd Street.
The petition calls for the city to create infrastructure that would physically separate the bike lane from the car lane.
"Right now, a lot of the bike lanes are paint only, even better to have either vertical standing poles. Right now, on 3rd Avenue, we have bollards. That’s a good option," said Eldon.
The group is collecting signatures and presenting their petition to the City of Phoenix, in hopes that it will inspire them to build safety infrastructure to better protect bicyclists.
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