Oct. 7, 2016
For immediate release
Contact: Brendan Lyons, (520) 248-9874
Local leaders featured in new safety videos encouraging motorists to give cyclists 3 feet & discourage distracted driving.
A moment’s distraction can lead to a lifetime of regret.
Brendan Lyons knows the reality of this statement all too well.
Lyons is the executive director of LOOK! Save A Life. As a former firefighter, he responded all too often to the tragic consequences of distracted driving. He nearly lost his life, a year after bringing the non-profit to Arizona when he was struck from behind by a distracted motorist at 45 mph while bicycling.
Today, Lyons is bringing together victims, government officials and community leaders in an effort to promote a region-wide effort to cut down on this ever-growing epidemic and health crisis. Furthermore, this effort aims to remind motorists to give cyclists a safe distance when passing.
Today, LOOK! Save a Life launches a campaign to build awareness across the region of the dangers of distracted driving. The campaign includes six videos that feature community leaders with intent to humanize cyclists, who are vulnerable out there on the open road. Three law enforcement agencies also have teamed up with the launch of the campaign, unveiling designated patrol vehicles that will feature the campaign message.
The agencies include the Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department and the Oro Valley Police Department.
“Distracted driving is more than an enforcement issue, it’s a community public safety issue,” said Sheriff Chris Nanos. “For that we are glad to partner with local law enforcement agencies and LOOK! Save a Life on this very important message.”
TPD Chief Chris Magnus said Tucson is on track for another above-average year of car-bicycle collisions. “The great majority of these could be prevented if both bicyclists and motorists take a few simple steps to make our roads safer,” Magnus said. “Too many of us try to combine texting or otherwise handle our cell phones while driving. We all know it’s dangerous and most of us know it’s against the law, but we tend to believe we can successfully multi-task or look down for just that couple of seconds without harming ourselves or others.”
OVPD Chief Daniel G. Sharp said safety is everyone’s responsibility. “LOOK! Save a Life focuses on the importance of all roadway users to be aware of the rules and follow them,” he said. “By being knowledgeable and respectful, everyone can enjoy safe travels throughout our region.”
LOOK! Save A Life’s Public Safety Announcement’s were created in partnership with
Dark Horse Media, Monsoon Productions and Steven Meckler Photography. The PSAs will be made available as public service announcements for media use, promoted through social media and shown during public presentations.
“The interest and support by so many cyclists, motorists, concerned residents, elected leaders, and public safety officials to join in the LOOK! Save A Life message gives me great hope that we will raise community awareness around bicycling safety and distracted driving and influence behavior change,” Lyons said.
The average distraction while driving is reportedly 3 to 5 seconds. At 45 to 55 miles per hour, that is the equivalent to driving the length of a football field, blindfolded. Through awareness, injuries can be avoided, suffering alleviated and lives saved.
In fact, Arizona law requires that you must give cyclists a minimum of 3 feet when passing. The penalty for violating this law and causing a crash with serious physical injury is the same as littering on a public highway, a $500 fine.
Lyons said that LOOK! Save A Life wants to better humanize all who use our public roads and make sure that we all go home to our families.
“Working to decrease the incidence of distracted driving is one way to decrease cyclist and pedestrian fatalities,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “Unfortunately, Arizona lags behind other states in passing laws that prohibit texting while driving. Citizen groups, such as LOOK! Save a Life, can help our state legislators understand the need and support for such measures.”–2–