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One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Deadly crashes are up 36 percent in two years and 13 to 20 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians. KGUN 9 is committed to making our roads a safer place to travel on foot, on bikes, and in our vehicles and we welcome your input. Send your issues and concerns about the safety of our roadways to saferoads@kgun9.com or call 520-290-7690.

Bicyclist safety: Sharing the road and saving lives

Operation Safe Roads

TUCSON, Ariz. - It's a phrase drivers hear all the time: share the road. One local mother says it's especially important in Tucson because bicyclists are everywhere. 

This month marks three years since Karen Wilson's son, Daniel, was killed while riding his bike to work on the northwest side.

She drives by his ghost bike memorial on Orange Grove and La Cholla almost every day. Each day, not any easier than the one before. 

Sometimes when I go by it, I cry still, you know," Wilson said. "And sometimes when I talk about it, I cry still. Sometimes when I'm driving home from work and I'm not even near the bike, I cry still. But this is a great reminder for drivers and cyclists just to remember to be careful."

RELATED: Bike safety at forefront after deadly accidents

Daniel, 30, was killed instantly when he was hit by a distracted driver Sept. 2015. 

After losing her son, Wilson wants people to see his ghost bike and remember to share the road.

"Even before this happened to us, it didn't resonate with me either, I wasn't the type of person that I was looking out for cyclists myself. But now I do," Wilson said.

 

RELATED: New county effort to prevent distracted driving

Wilson's family works with Look! Save a Life to help share the dangers of distracted driving with others. That's where they met Brendan Lyons, the executive director of the organization who was hit by a car while riding his bike in 2013.

"Nobody needs to lose a life over a moment's distraction," Lyons said. "Nobody needs to lose a life because of a cyclist failing to follow the rules of the road."

Wilson celebrates her son's life twice a year by cleaning the roadway that's now been adopted in Daniel's name. The next celebration is on Saturday, Sept. 29, the anniversary of his death. 

RELATED: Pima County tightens up distracted driving ordinance

Here are some safety tips from Look! Save a Life:

For cyclists:

  • Ride in the direction of traffic and stay as far right as practical
  • Obey rules of the road and ride single file
  • Wear a helmet
  • Make eye contact with drivers when possible

For drivers:

  • Look out for cyclists on the road and treat them as you would any slow-moving vehicle
  • Be patient and don't tailgate bicyclists
  • Watch out for cyclists when making right turns
  • Don't honk unnecessarily at cyclists
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