January 2018 Magazines 89144 - Page 39

Meet the Neighbor By Callie Thomas Brooks holds a master’s degree in geology and has worked for the Southern Nevada Water Authority for the past seven years. She’s passionate about the research she does in climate change and the impact it has on our water supplies, a calling that’s equally fulfilling as her desire to promote cycling in our city. “I was traveling at least three hours on weekends to race competitively in Southern California or neigh- boring states,” Brooks recalls. “I began digging deeper into the reason why our community, with over two million residents, didn’t have a vibrant rac- ing scene. The answer was simple: For Las Vegas to successfully host bike events, more people needed to ride bikes. For that to happen cyclists had to feel safe riding on our roads.” It was out of the need to have a line of communication with city planners and leaders that the SNVBC was established. The SNVBC’s More Space! Keep it Safe, Nevada initia- tive was created to educate all users of the road about the 3-feet law with the goal to eliminate colli- sions that lead to life changing injuries for the cyclist, or even death. The National Conference of State Legislatures states that 27.1 percent of overall traffic fatalities in Nevada involve pedestrians and bicycles. Based on 2015 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Las Vegas ranks 3rd in the nation for bicycle fatalities per one million people when compared to 31 other metropolitan areas of its size. There have been five bicycle fatalities in Clark County as of November, a statistic that’s the annual average for the years 2000-2017. This past fall, the SNVBC helped to raise awareness of the statute at the 5th Annual 3-Feet for Pete Memorial Ride. “The annual ride is held in memory of a local cyclist, Pete Makowski, who was killed by a motorist in June of 2013. Pete was an accom- plished athlete, Brooks’ husband’s teammate, and a friend to both. He was known to be a conscientious and a safe rider who avoided roads he considered unsuitable for safe riding. All proceeds for the event supported awareness of Nevada’s 3-Feet law and cyclist and motorist education.” Brooks is optimistic about the growth of the SNVBC and the impact it has made on the city. She also enjoys sharing her passion with her husband who loves riding bicycles as much as she does, along with their dog who happily tags along. “My favorite say- ing is, ‘I’m the captain of my own ship.’ I alone take responsibility for my actions and the direction of my life. For me, it means creating a safer environ- ment for people who use our streets.” ◆ January/February 2018 After a great deal of research, it was found that the difference between cycling safety and life-changing injuries is just 3 feet. According to Nevada’s Division of Motor Vehicles, motorists passing a bicycle must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If not, the driver must pass with at least 3 feet of space between the vehicle and the bicycle. Motorists can be charged with reckless driving if they are at fault in any collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian. “When the 3-Feet law passed in 2011, the cycling community was one step closer toward making streets safer for all cyclists,” says Brooks. “Yet, collisions with cyclists and pedestrians still occur resulting in extensive injuries or even death. Increased awareness of the 3-Feet law vVBFWfFG&fW'2WW&66rw&VFW"6WFvV76Ɨ7G2&R&W6VBFV7&V6rBVgVǒVƖ֒ЦFr6Ɨ62BfFƗFW2( ФN( 2DR5D%BbDRUrT"BWr6WBb&W6WF2f"N( 2FRF'&VFWW&66R&VvRBbBvW&RWFVVǒ'&276ƖrvVB&RBFRFbF@Ɨ7B2fVFrV&W"B&W6FVBbFP6WFW&WfF&76R6ƗF4d$26^( 0WBFV6W&vRFR6VGF&FR&W2vWFW"B&Rf"VF&V7&VF"w&VVG&2Ч'FF66R( Ē&VƗVBFBF7&VFR7VGW&6vRvRVVB&RVR&Fr&W2BW7@&6W'2( 6B'&2( Ėb&RVR&FR&W2vPvVBfR&vW"f6RvFvfW&VBvV6W0FffV7B6vR6G2F&fR&G2@7&VFR&RF2( У3