Tag Archives: Steve Farley

Meeting At UAMC Hospital room with Deputy Art Gutierrez

Lorena Evan, Brendan Lyons, Rep. Ethan Orr and Senator Steve Farley meeting with Deputy Gutierrez to discuss bike safety laws.
Lorena Evans, Brendan Lyons, Rep. Ethan Orr and Senator Steve Farley meeting with Deputy Gutierrez to discuss bike safety laws.

50 weeks ago I went to UAMC- Diamonds Children center to see Brendan Lyons after he was in a collision on his bike while riding his bike on East Sunrise.   A few days later I orchestrated the media and a meeting in Brendan’s hospital room  with Senator Steve Farley and Representative Ethan Orr to discuss laws for cyclist safety.  As a result, we introduced 4 bills in the state legislature last year.  Unfortunately, not even one made it out of committee. Brendan and I have spent hundreds of hours in the past year trying to find ways to make cycling safer. Yesterday, El Tour de Tucson announced that Brendan and his girlfriend, Lorena Evans, who was also in the collision, are the honoree for the 2014 El Tour De Tucson.  Wednesday night, at 9:30 Brendan called me and told me that he had met with Office Art Gutierrez, who was struck from behind this week and at UAMC.  After burning the midnight oil, Thursday morning, life came full circle and I found myself at UAMC with the media, Rep Orr, Senator Farley, Brendan and Lorena.  This time in the hospital room we also had Pima County Sherriff Deputy Art Gutierrez,  his daughter, Cynthia,  girlfriend, Delia, as well as some of the Sherriff Department brass.

Brendan asked the Deputy if he would like his story shared.  Like so many people who serve our country, Art was willing to put his personal suffering aside if it might help save someone else.

His daughter Cynthia and son Alex are also cyclist.  They recently rode in El Tour De Mesa as a family and finished in about 3 and a half hours.  Cynthia was the first member of the family to get into cycling  7 years ago.  Art got on the bike because of her 5 years ago.  She recalled with a smile that in the first El Tour she rode with her Dad that it took them 8 hours.  In 2013 they had shaved over an hour and a half off that time.  Alex got on the bike last year and this year they were expecting to be even faster.  Delia also caught the bike fever and recently bought a bicycle.

The details of the accident are only too familiar.  A driver came up behind the Deputy and struck his Bike from Behind.  Statistically, this type of collision is the most common to result in a death.  All things considered, it looks as if Deputy Gutierrez  got off with only “minor” injuries ( If spending  days in the hospital and not knowing when you will be released are minor) He has no recollection of the actual collision and woke up in the hospital.

The following is from the interviews Deputy Gutierrez:

Deputy Gutierrez, much like Brendan after his accident talked a lot about how safety is every ones responsibility.  Both  the cyclist and the motorist.

He said it was “surprising” waking up at UAMC, he had no clue what had happened.

He is “hurting, sore, his body hurts, feeling down,  but feels fortunate that he is here.  Fortunate to be alive.  To know he will recover.  Thankful for his family and his co-workers. “

He has no broken bones, but possibly had a small stroke that has led to a lack of feeling on the right side of his body.  He has road rash all over his body.

When asked if he was going to get back on his bike he replied “as soon as I can,  It is something I really enjoy, I want to go back”.

Asked about the accident and who was at fault and how the Sherriff Department would investigate he said that the Dept.  will do a full investigation but that he has no recollection of what happened. A full investigation will be conducted to determine who was at fault.  He stated again that sometimes it is the cyclist, but that the investigation will determine the fault.

The driver did stick around after the collision.

The collision was on Tanque Verde between Houghton and Tanque Verde Loop.  He was on his way to ride up Mt. Lemmon to mile 4 or 5.  He had only gone about 3 miles on his ride.

When asked about stricter laws for motorist he said “there is a lot of impatience with todays drivers and not just with cyclist but with pedestrians … and with social media, people distracted constantly talking on the phone, texting, doing whatever they do… I see it every day as a patrol officer, I see it every day, but I also see the bikes making the same mistakes being dangerous and the pedestrians J walking and can’t wait,… we need to be more patient.  What the drivers need to understand is they are in a 4000 pound piece of moving machinery, if you hit a person they lose.”

He would like to see something done for the texting and the cell phone use for drivers.  Personally he finds it annoying and sees it all the time.  “Driving is a privilege, not a right.”

One thing that was very clear during the interview was how level headed and patient he is.  He understands that the solution is patients and understanding with efforts from everyone who uses the roads.  Perhaps if everyone can have a mindset like that, we could truly create an environment that is safer for everyone.  I’m so thankful that Deputy Art Gutierrez will make a full recovery and hope his spirit and ideas will spread throughout the Pima County Sherriff Dept.

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

This is a more of a mini novel than a blog.  It contains the interview with Brendan Lyons and Lorena Evans about a collision with a car on October 4, 2013 . Also, interviews with Senator Farley and Representative Orr about what bike laws we might be able to create in the next legislative session..  My break down on why this all came together.  Having been there for the entire time and seeing the final news reports, it is incredible how 45 minutes is condensed into a 2 minute segment.  I tried to omit nothing to give a more in depth perspective (perhaps too much).

Brendan Lyons Bike

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My good friend Brendan Lyons was hit by a car while riding his bike last week with his girlfriend Lorena Evans.  Lorena got off easy with a broken wrist (at least that’s all that I know she hurt).  Brendan on the other hand ended up In the Hospital and is still there.

Brendan is a fire fighter with rural metro and the founder of Look!Save a life/ Arizona  This is what Brendon says s the purpose of Look!  “Look! Save a Life / Arizona is a campaign to promote cycling safety and awareness. Many cyclists are unaware of, or choose not to ride according to the laws which govern the use of public roads. Most drivers only expect to see other cars on the road, or even deny the right of cyclists to be on the road at all. (Or worse yet, feel cyclists should not be on the roads at all.) That creates a disconnection between what drivers expect and what cyclists do on the road. These problems culminate in at best, apathy towards cyclists, and at worst, deliberate, hostile, unsafe, and possibly fatal confrontations between drivers and cyclists. My hope is to “Realize that we can not change personalities, but to help in better changing the “attitudes” drivers and cyclists have for one another.”


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I went to visit Brendan at UAMC Diamond’s Children in his hospital room.  For some time I have helped him manage the facebook page for Look! Save a Life. I have known many cyclist who have spent time in ER and the hospital, but this is the first time I went down to see if I could help (I’ve never been a huge fan of hospitals, I was told as a kid the best way to stay healthy was to avoid hospitals and I have been living that lifestyle).

Even with the pain meds, I could see the grimace on his face every few sentences, but his mind was clear and we had a very long conversation.   We talked about what he remembered from the crash, nothing.   My favorite topic after a bike crash.  How was his bike?  Shattered in 13 plus pieces.  Where it happened?  Sunrise heading East before Kolb.  One point was very clear.  He wanted to find a way to make this into a positive experience.  The question he wanted to know was how could he help save even one life  or prevent one collision as a result of his current situation.  The conversation went to how Look! Save a Life could get recognition and use his misfortune for the benefit of the community.  We went over the downside to being public, but he was set on doing anything that could to save someone from the anguish he was going through.

Together we discussed what he wanted to see.  Laws that really protect cyclist!  A state wide no texting while driving law!  A hands free law!!!!!  Expanding the 3 foot to a 5 foot wide passing law and more teeth and penalties for cars who hit a cyclist.

After we had the idea the rest fell on me.   Fortunately, I have great political connections on both sides of the isle in the state legislator and know the Representatives and Senators who believe in protecting the safety of cyclist. ( If anyone has 1ooK and want’s to support me for a year I’ll become a full time bike lobbyist for the state of Arizona) Both Senator Steve Farley and Representative Ethan Orr were willing to shuffle their schedules to meet with Brendan to talk about the laws we discussed.

With the assistance of Katie Riley from UAMC and Grant Cesarck from Rural metro we were able to coordinate the logistics of bringing news crews in the hospital and to get a press release out.  THANK YOU Katie and Grant!

Everything went very well and KVOA and KGUN both sent crews out.  KOLD was not able to make it, but we might do another interview in a few days.  AZ Daily Star sent a reporter as well.  Senator Farley, Representative Orr, Karen Mlawsky, CEO of UAMC, Andy Theodorou, MD, Chief Medical Officer of UAMC all attended the meeting.

Senator Farley, Representative Orr, Lorena Evans, Brendan Lyons,  Karen Mlawsky, Andy Theodorou, MD.

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Senator Farley, Representative Orr, Lorena Evans, Brendan Lyons, Karen Mlawsky, Andy Theodorou, MD.