Phoenix area bicyclists say there's a rise in crashes involving cars after 3 deaths in a few days
TEMPE, Ariz. - Phoenix area bicyclists say crashes are on the rise after seeing three fatal bike crashes in just a few days – one in Mesa and two in Phoenix.
Cyclists say they just want people to make space for them on the roads and to pay attention when they're driving.
"We've had so many tragic accidents all year, but especially this weekend for cyclists. They've all involved motorists," explained Steven Gerner, vice president of Tempe Bicycle Action Group.
Because of accidents like these, the action group is reminding riders to be vigilant and reminding drivers that they're not the only ones on the roads.
"I think after the pandemic everyone kind of got more excited about cycling. You got into the whole mood, you're like, what can we do, let's get involved, and now the traffic's picking up a lot," Gerner said.
They've seen an increase in ridership, and unfortunately, crashes.
Gerner says there are some things cyclists can do to stay safe. Wear visible colors and reflective vests, he says. Most importantly, a helmet.
Another tip is to drive with traffic, not against it.
"Let's give our cyclists plenty of space. Cyclists have a right to use the lanes just like motorists. So, if there's no dedicated bicycle lane, you might see a cyclist in that lane," Gerner said. The rule is to keep at least three feet of space.
Kenneth Wang, an Arizona State student who spends every day on his bike, wants motorists to be more responsible.
"As far as things go, the infrastructure is there, there's a lot more bike lanes, but at the end of the day, it's a matter of drivers' attitudes toward biking that's really causing people to feel unsafe about biking," Wang said.
He says drivers honk at bicyclists daily and don't realize how instantaneously jolting it can be – sometimes enough to cause an accident.
"An accident doesn't take two minutes. It takes two seconds,"
The worst hours for cyclists in the Phoenix area are between 6 and 9 p.m. Bicycle lights are another great addition to stay safe, and the Tempe Bicycle Action Group gives them out.
More on deadly bike incidents
Phoenix police are searching for the driver involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist near Interstate 10 and 16th Street on the night of April 1. Officers said a 63-year-old man was crossing 16th Street on his bike at around 10 p.m. on April 1 when he was hit by a sedan, police said. He died and hasn't been identified.
Police are also searching for a driver in connection to a hit-and-run crash in Phoenix that left another bicyclist dead. According to Phoenix Police, 66-year-old Jesus Quintanilla was riding his bicycle in the crosswalk near 32nd Street and Thomas Road just after 11 p.m. on April 2 when he was hit by a car.
Over in Mesa, police say an unidentified man was hit near 1st Avenue and Dobson Road on April 1. The victim died after being rushed to the hospital, and the driver remained on the scene.