Coalition president (at the time in early 2007) Bill Lazenby worked with Phoenix councilman Greg Stanton to get the huge (eigth feet wide) signs produced. “The 3 feet is not a recommendation, it’s the law,” Councilman Greg Stanton said.
New signs warn motorists of bicyclists on Pecos RoadBy Doug Murphy, Staff Writer AFN. February 2, 2007
|Phoenix Councilman Greg Stanton (speaking), George
Eschak-Gage, Rita Anselmo. photo taken 3/17/2009
at the unveiling.
More than two years after Don Anselmo
was run down on Pecos Road while riding his bicycle, and two months after George Esahak-Gage was hit on his bicycle while riding on Chandler Boulevard, [by a red-light runner exiting I-10] the city is preparing to install giant signs reminding motorists that the law says they must stay 3 feet away from bicyclers when passing.
“The 3 feet is not a recommendation, it’s the law,” Councilman Greg Stanton said.
It will take a few weeks for the signs to arrive and for installation to begin. “These signs will appear first in Ahwatukee and then all around the city,” Stanton said.
For local bicyclist Jim Barry, it’s about time.
“Drivers just don’t seem to either notice us or care,” he said Wednesday during a break in his rainy day ride along Pecos Road. “I don’t think the signs will be a magic bullet, but at least it’s something.” The signs will first go up along Pecos Road and then expand to other parts of Ahwatukee Foothills and the city.
While vehicle/bicycle crashes occur everywhere, Stanton said Ahwatukee Foothills is particularly vulnerable because it attracts so many bicyclists. “I actually think that bicycling is what makes Ahwatukee, Ahwatukee,” he said.
In 2004, Anselmo, a 68-year-old retired electrical engineer, was struck while in the middle of the 8-foot-wide shoulder near 24th Street on Pecos Road – far from the flow of traffic – by a pickup driven by Clinton Cabanillas, according to police.
Anselmo died instantly. Cabanillas was never charged in the crash.
In November, Esahak-Gage and his wife Jane were returning to Ahwatukee Foothills after a morning ride when they were struck by 23-year-old Jose Juarez. Juarez had no driver’s license or auto insurance and was cited for that, plus failure to control his vehicle before being released, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Esahak-Gage received major injuries, including broken bones and a ruptured artery that almost killed him. His wife received minor injuries. A triathlon on Sunday was held to help raise money for Esahak-Gage’s medical bills.
Signs will point to bike safety
Foothills selected to post warnings alerting motorists
Kerry Fehr-Snyder, The Arizona Republic, Feb. 3, 2007
Phoenix has selected Ahwatukee Foothills for bike safety signs to remind motorists that they must give cyclists at least three feet of roadway.
The signs, which could be 8 feet wide by 3 feet tall compared with standard street signs that are about 2 by 3 feet, come more than two years after a retired engineer cycling along Pecos Road was struck and killed by a car and about three months after a triathlete was seriously injured when struck by a car on Chandler Boulevard.
The driver walked away without a ticket in the Pecos Road incident in which Don Anselmo died, outraging fellow cyclists and other Valley residents.
His widow, Rita Anselmo, and other bicyclists groups pushed for the signs “because you know, motorists think they own the road down there,” Rita Anselmo said.
Phoenix plans to erect the signs first along Pecos Road as part of a pilot program that will be rolled out to other popular bicycle routes, said John Siefert, Phoenix’s traffic engineering supervisor.
“Pecos Road is just a phenomenally popular road used by joggers, cyclists, hikers, and it’s closest to Ahwatukee,” he said. “Ahwatukee has a great audience for this.”
Siefert said the city plans to place four to six signs along Pecos, which is on the southernmost edge of Ahwatukee and is a relatively open area that could handle the large signs.
Smaller signs that would measure 24 by 30 inches are planned for busier roads in Phoenix where other signs compete for drivers’ attention.
The city has yet to fix a program cost, he said. That will depend on the number, size and location of signs, which have yet to be determined.
Phoenix unveiled a mockup of the signs on Sunday during a fund-raiser attended by 150 people for injured triathletes George and Jane Esahak-Gage. They were pedaling over Interstate 10 on the Chandler Boulevard overpass toward Ahwatukee when a car driven on an I-10 off ramp by Jose Juarez hit them.
Juarez, 23, was cited with failing to control his speed, driving without insurance and driving without a license. The bicyclists had a green light, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The accident brought bicycle safety to the forefront in Ahwatukee Foothills, a Phoenix village that uses a drawing of a bicycle to identify the 88,000-resident community.
“Of course you always think about the future – your kids’, your grandkids’, your friends’, yourself,” Rita Anselmo said in lobbying for the signs. “Why don’t we have a real bike route for these people?
“On the village signs for Ahwatukee, it’s bikers. Hello, how about doing something for them?”
Phoenix City Councilman Greg Stanton, who represents the area, said he immediately liked the idea of erecting large signs throughout Phoenix to warn motorists that giving cyclists 3 feet of roadway is the law, not just a courtesy.