According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 618 cyclists were killed in 2010 and 52,000 were injured in crashes with motor vehicles. With such a significant amount of both fatal and non-fatal accidents, it is crucial to educate both cyclists and motorists on bicycle safety. Below are four local Arizona clubs and non-profit organizations that are striving to improve their communities by advocating for the importance of bicycle safety.
The Brett Saks Foundation: This non-profit organization was founded after an unfortunate event. On October 4th, 2008, Brett Saks was training for a 600-mile charity bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego, when he was hit and killed by a motorist who was driving under the influence of sleeping pills. Prior to Brett’s death, he was working towards creating a charity bike ride. Since 2008, Brett’s wife, Kim has honored Brett’s charitable work by creating the Brett Saks Foundation, which raises funds for Arizona Disabled Sports through safety awareness events and charitable community donations. Friedl Richardson will be one of the sponsors at this year’s Safety Festival held on September 30 at Tumbleweed Park.
Tempe Bicycle Action Group: This nonprofit organization strives to make bicycling a prominent and safe form of transportation and recreation in Tempe, Arizona and other surrounding areas. They promote their efforts through education, grassroot events and also civic participation.
Handlebar Helpers: This program began in October 1994 when local citizens collaborated with the City of Scottsdale staff and has steadily grown since. Their values have not changed since – they still focus on encouraging volunteering and promoting bicycle safety. The Handlebar Helpers donate bikes through their “Earn a Bike” program, which requires participants to earn “bike bucks” for each hour of volunteer work they complete. For approximately 20 “bike bucks”, participants can earn a reconditioned bicycle from the Handlebar Helpers Bike Shop.
Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage: BICAS began in 1989 as an organization called Bootstraps to Share, where several community members came together to assist the homeless population in Tucson. They quickly figured out that their greatest impact on the community was to provide recycled bicycles and teach specific skills in order to maintain them. In 1996, BICAS extended their program even further when they realized the majority of the youth in their community were interested in bicycle mechanic programs. Therefore, today they focus on bicycle recycling, advocacy and education programs for the entire Tucson community.
For a great list of future cycling events visit Bike Arizona!