Traffic Safety and Awareness Walk

Community members from Santa Maria recently participated in 2014’s Traffic Safety and Awareness Memorial Walk at Preisker Park. Loved ones of Matthew O’Neill, a cyclist who was struck and killed by a teen driver in August, were raising awareness for their “Change a Lane, Save a Life” campaign. Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk reported on the event, which was in its second year running.

UC Santa Barbara Grad Student Cyclist Killed

On August 9, 2014, 33-year-old Matthew O’Neill was struck and killed while riding his bicycle near Foxen Canyon and Dominion Roads. He was a USCB graduate student and an advocate for people with disabilities. A teen driver towing a horse trailer with a large pickup struck and killed. The teen driver has since been charged with vehicular manslaughter and related infractions.

Change a Lane, Save a Life

Under California law, motorists are now required to give bicyclists at least three feet while passing or slow down and wait until an appropriate opportunity to safely pass arises. Unfortunately, not everybody has caught on to the importance of this new law. The “Change a Lane, Save a Life” campaign is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of always adhering to the three-foot rule. O’Neill’s loved ones were handing out green ribbons and wristbands to remind people about the importance of changing a lane or waiting to pass until safe to do so.

Bicycle Crash Facts across the U.S.

• In 2012, 726 cyclists were killed in crashes with automobiles.
• In 2011, 682 cyclists were killed in car crashes.
• Cyclists accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2012.
• In 2012, 69 percent of all cyclist deaths occurred in urban areas.
• In 2010, an estimated 515,000 emergency room visits were due to bicycle-related injuries.

After a Bicycle Accident

Bicyclists are a vulnerable roadway user group. They don’t have seatbelts or airbags. Motorists don’t always observe and adhere to the new three-feet rule either. Distracted drivers and impaired drivers can cause devastating and fatal accidents, especially when cyclists and pedestrians are involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free case consultation today. Many of our lawyers are avid hobby cyclists and understand the important issues and dangers that bicycle riders face on a daily basis.

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