When Carl Gable stood up at the City Council meeting last Wednesday night, it was already clear by the seats packed with local cyclists that this would be no ordinary council session for the new City administration.
As Carl began speaking, cyclists also started to rise, one by one, until the chamber seemed filled by the approximately 65 local riders, standing in an impressive sign of solidarity with the urgent message that local bike safety is a life and death issue.
The Santa Fe bike community’s plea that law enforcement start to work with cyclists, recognize their rights and conduct accident investigations according to current traffic law continues to reverberate in press articles and radio interviews. Local interests ranging from the Rotary Club to County Commission chair Anna Hansen have requested meetings with Bike Santa Fe to discuss on-going questions of bike safety and education.
The numerous emails were sent to both the Sheriff Garcia and District Attorney Marco Serna, backed by public record request fillings for information relating to the assault on Highway 41. This has helped ensure the case was not simply dismissed, or viewed as a minor traffic dispute, as seemed a distinct possibility based on the initial actions of the Sheriff’s department. Instead it appears a thorough by-the-book investigation has been launched.
Talk is cheap, especially from a politician during an election campaign. Before the election Bike Santa Fe asked Mayor Webber how law enforcement agencies could work to make the streets safer for cyclists.
His response was, “The biggest issue is to ensure that officers on the scene get a statement from the cyclist and not just the vehicle driver. Local law enforcement and the justice system then need to enforce existing bike safety laws.
We couldn’t agree more.
Local bicyclists turned out last Wednesday. We moved the needle, even if it’s still just a beginning. We showed that in a small town a committed group can have a big impact.
Now it’s up to the new city administration to show by their actions they are taking bike safety as seriously as we do.