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Tucson church promotes bike safety after hit-and-run involving pastor

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:49 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Some roadways in the city of Tucson have become hot spots for crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s such a shame to have to come out to bike calls and motorcycles where people get hit,” said Mickey Dowling, the director of field operations for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary Volunteers.

Twenty pedestrians, six cyclists and nine people on motorcycles have lost their lives in crashes so far this year, according to the Tucson Police Department.

“It’s terribly important for our young people to have helmets and know the rules of the road,” said Robert Jones, the pastor of Santa Cruz Lutheran Church.

Jones knows all too well the danger that can come with bike riding.

He said he was the victim of a hit and run near Kolb and Stella in May of 2020.

“A broken pelvis, broken ankle, broken rib and concussion,” Jones said. “I think I’m fortunate to be alive if we’re being honest. ... This is the helmet that basically saved my life. I hit at about 20 miles per hour and flew about 15 feet before I hit the ground.”

He’s now working to educate the public about bike safety and the importance of a helmet that fits properly. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Drexel Heights Fire District and Living Streets Alliance joined in the efforts Sunday, Sept. 26.

“People should know how to ride a bike properly when you’re in traffic,” said Guillermo Andrade, a 10-year-old at the event. “I think it’s pretty important.”

Andrade caught on quickly.

“When you’re crossing at a stoplight or stop sign, look left, right then left again and then you can go.”

He’s one of many kids who went home much more knowledgeable about safe cycling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said more children go to the emergency room for injuries associated with bicycles than any other sport.

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