Cyclist protection bills revived, victim gathers petition signatures

A Tucson cyclist who was hit by a car is pedaling forward at the state legislature with his fight for road safety.

Brendan Lyons, 30, is circulating a petition to drum up support for a ban on texting while driving and a bill to protect cyclists and other vulnerable users.

“I believe that both bills stand a tremendous chance of getting passed if they have the opportunity to be heard and voted on,” Lyons said. “This shouldn’t be about politics or party lines. Both bills are tremendously important and should be solely focused on minimizing risk and saving lives for all who utilize our public roadways.

Last year, both proposals were killed before receiving a hearing, but now SB 1102, the texting bill, shows promise; it passed the Senate government committee last week.

The bill had been proposed every year since 2007 by Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, and failed every time. Now the bill will have to pass the chamber’s transportation and public safety committees before moving onto the full body.

Forty-four states have outlawed texting and driving, but Arizona is not among them.

SB 1302, the vulnerable users bill, also assigned to both the Senate’s transportation and public safety committees, has yet to receive a hearing. It forbids harassment of cyclists and other vulnerable users of roadways, a common issue, Farley has said.

“People have thrown full beer cans at cyclists,” Farley said.

A car struck Lyons, who is a firefighter, and his fiance Lorena Evans from behind while they rode their bikes in Tucson. While recovering, Lyons initiated the Look! Save a Life campaign in Arizona.

Lyons has championed both bills over the last two years. He has yet to return to his job as a firefighter due to his injuries sustained from the crash.

Online petition

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Sarah Muench