Arizona fireman hurt in bicycling crash fights for distracted driving ban
PHOENIX — Former firefighter Brendan Lyons, whose career was cut short when he was struck by a distracted driver while bicycling, is fighting for a statewide texting and driving ban in Arizona.
Lyons founded the Arizona chapter of the nonprofit Look! Save a Life in 2012 after his work responding to distracted driving incidents inspired him to raise awareness for the cause, which soon became personal for him.
“In a sad twist of irony, almost a year later, I went out for a bike ride with my girlfriend on the morning of her birthday … and a motorist at 45 mph looked down at his cellphone to see who’s calling, drifted into the bike lane and struck us both from behind,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.
Lyons said he suffered spine and pelvis fractures and was treated for a traumatic brain injury, which ended his days as a firefighter.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month… A Moment's Distraction can be A Lifetime of Regret! #LookSaveALife #HandsFreeAZ #ItCanWait
“Ever since, I’ve been very outspoken and trying to educate and bring further awareness to this growing epidemic,” he said.
“And it is a health crisis — people are being killed on our roads every day.”
Lyons said he supports state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee’s bill, which bans drivers from handling their phones in any way while their vehicle is in motion.
“Some states that have enacted what Sen. Brophy McGee is proposing, once those have (been) enacted, you see on average a reduction in at least 15% of those crashes and fatalities on those state’s roadways,” he said.
The bill passed the state Senate in March but is hung up in the House, where Republicans have disagreed on how far the law should go.
Lyons said he hopes the lawmakers can come to a compromise on the bill soon.
“This absolutely has to stop, and more must be done. And the Arizona Legislature can do a whole lot more about this,” he said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino and the Associated Press contributed to this report.