Dear Gov. Brian Sandoval, Troy Dillard of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Rudy Malfabon of the Nevada DOT,
On Aug. 15, I sat near the back of a church in Las Vegas for the memorial for Matthew Robert Hunt. I never met Matt, but he loved bicycling and had recently started a bicycle touring business.
As a fellow bicyclist in las Vegas, I felt a kinship and wanted to pay my respects for Matt, who was riding his bicycle when he was killed by a motorist. He died Aug. 9 from injuries he sustained while bicycling on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.
I was moved by the words of his mother, Cynthia Finnegan, who delivered a eulogy that focused on the things she learned from her son. Then, Matt's brother-in-law, Steven Thompson, offered a tribute. Not a dry eye in the church. Matt was 37 years old when he left a wife and two small kids.
Matt was the eighth bicyclist to be killed in Las Vegas this year. That's one a month in 2015 and I'm sure you agree it's disturbing trend.
So, what are we going to do?
I have a few ideas.
Ten, in fact.
It would be nice if you could share the word with motorists in Nevada:
1. I know, accepting change as an adult human being can be so hard but it’s time to accept that bicycles are here to stay on our roadways. The days of telling bicyclists to go and ride on the sidewalk are over. Which leads us to . . .
2. Bicyclists are part of traffic. Don’t tell bicyclists that they are slowing down traffic. Here’s why . . .
3. Bicyclists are simply slower moving vehicles. They are co-users of the road. So . . .
4. When passing a bicyclist, motorists are required to pass with a distance of at least three feet between your car and the bicycle. And you are supposed to move over a lane if there’s a second passing lane. Also . . .
5. Don’t get angry about seeing a bicyclist pedaling down the middle of a lane. Bicyclists are taught in classes to take the lane. That’s because on narrow traffic lanes, the lane width is too narrow to pass a bicyclist so simply wait until there is no oncoming traffic and pass the bicyclist then. And keep this in mind . . .6. You’re concerned that you can’t drive as fast as you’d like if you are behind a bicyclist. A bicyclist is concerned that he or she will be run over by you. The weight of the concerns are not equal. And another thing to remember . . .
7. Yes, car motorists and bicyclists are co-users of the road, but your vehicle is a two-ton missile and a bicycle is a 25-pound moving vehicle. If your car strikes a bicyclist, it could mean death or a catastrophic injury.
8. Bicyclists take safety classes. Motorists also need education. Every 10 years, a motorist should be required to take a class on how to interact with bicyclists on the road.
9. Road exam should include a bicyclist on the course and if a motorist fails to properly pass or interact with a bicyclist, then it means a failed test.
10. Eight dead bicyclists in the first eight months of 2015 is unacceptable. But we can change this in the future with some education and a change of attitude.