New non-profit hopes to 'drive change' in Tucson - Tucson News Now

New non-profit hopes to 'drive change' in Tucson

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new non-profit is working on launching a safety campaign called “Driving Change in Tucson” aimed to reduce the amount of bicycle collisions in Southern Arizona.  
Within the last ten days, there have been a total of three bicycle-related crashes in Tucson. Two cyclists died. Right now, one is in the hospital in serious condition.
The vice president of Cycling Advocates of Southern Arizona (CASAz) Robert Fritz told Tucson News Now these accidents are tragic and it’s urgent to educate everyone who uses the roads and sidewalks to pay attention.
Fritz said CASAz was formed four months ago and is a little different from other cycling safety campaigns, programs and clubs across the Tucson metro.
“There hasn’t been one effort overarching that is meant to train all motorists and cyclists and pedestrians about safe use of the roads,” said Fritz.
Right now, the organization is working on connecting with cycling groups and advocating for better bike lanes and intersections.
Leaders said the community probably won’t see its educational billboards, radio, or TV public service announcements until sometime next year.
The messages are simple, like reminding cyclists to wear protective gear, drivers to watch out for cyclists, and pedestrians to stay on sidewalks.
Some cyclists think a campaign to educate all parties involved will help.
“I think raising awareness of the fact that bicycles exist and also that people on those bikes are very fragile, I think does matter,” said Konden Smith who rides his bike occasionally down Mountain Ave. “I think it does make a difference, because if you’re a driver and it’s not brought to your attention, you just get into your routine and don’t notice.”
Meanwhile, despite knowing better, some may still brush off the warnings.
“I don’t own one (a helmet),” said one cyclist. “I don’t like the way it feels.”

Pima County and the City of Tucson have their own bicycle safety programs and classes. The City told Tucson News Now it doesn’t matter if what CASAz is doing is similar. City officials tell us, the more the message of bicycle and pedestrian safety get repeated, the better.

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