Beloved Downtown Ambassador Hans Hughes recently died due to injuries from a collision with a drunk driver while biking in downtown Phoenix.
Hans was hit around First Street and Fillmore. This is on the touted Fillmore bicycle boulevard and showcases that paint alone will not save lives. To the west, the Third Avenue Cycle Track already has largely done its job – distracted or intoxicated drivers crashed into the bollards, not into bikers. I wonder what could have been if that drunk driver was faced with the bollards first and not the sharrow.
Accordingly, I ask for the following actions that I believe will prevent tragedies like this in the future:
1. Fillmore between 7th Avenue and 7th Street should have a protected bicycle lane. You are already working on the bicycle boulevard. It did not do its job. The cost of this small extension could have saved Hans and this stretch is clearly not a safe one for a low stress bicycle boulevard without significant changes.
2. City Streets Department should commit to never doing sharrow-only projects in the future. This is not bicycle infrastructure. Sharrows are only effective in combination with other engineering solutions as shown by NACTO.
3. 3rd Street should be a continuous, protected bike lane corridor. You are working on infrastructure north of Roosevelt and considering it south of Lincoln. Connect the projects and build protection on the downtown stretch between the two.
Hans was a true hero, but it should not take an act of heroism to bike in your community. It hurts that we were unable to save Hans, but we can make a difference today. Please identify, fund, support and build protected bicycle infrastructure this year.