By Liz Kotalik. CREATED Nov 19, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With El Tour De Tucson coming up, bringing about 8,000 bike riders to Tucson, bike safety is taking center stage.
Bike riders lined down Fontana Avenue and Blacklidge Drive, all waiting for their chance to shine.
"I thought that it's really important for the safety of Tucson bike riders," said one lucky rider.
The Living Streets Alliance, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation, and the Pima Association of Governments sponsored a "Light the Night" bike light distribution event, where they gave out about 200 pairs of free lights.
Just hours before, others shed light on a bigger picture.
"Education, awareness, more and better infrastructure."
Brendan Lyons sits in a wheelchair next to his girlfriend Lorena.
In October, a distracted driver hit the couple while they were training for this weekend's El Tour De Tucson.
But today wasn't about him, he said. It was about change.
Nine On Your Side sat in on a panel discussion with Brendan, Lorena, lawyers, state legislators, and others, all talking about how they can take the issue of street safety to Arizona's capitol next legislative session.
"A lot of things we're talking about are education, how do you educate drivers about being a distracted driver, looking out for cyclists," said State Representative Ethan Orr.
The group also talked about stiffer penalties for drivers who hit bike riders, fixing roads, changing driving tests, and increasing the intensity of an investigation if a "vulnerable user" is involved.
They will meet again in a couple of weeks, but what's important that said, is that their wheels are turning, hoping for safer, and now brighter, Tucson streets.