LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Cycling advocates in Las Vegas continue to push for change, as the driver involved in a deadly crash from last year is sentenced to prison.
The crash happened in December on the U.S. 95 near Searchlight. The driver, Jordan Barson, was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of 16 years in prison, after hitting and killing five cyclists with the box truck he was driving. The sentence consists of two sentences, each 8-20 years, to be served consecutively. Barson pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI resulting in death and admitted he had meth in his system when he ran into the group.
Cycling advocates say no sentence length for Barson can bring back those who were killed. Their focus is on creating positive change in the community, through education and legislation. While the road ahead is long, they have already made some progress.
“I care and love them, and I think about them all the time,” said Robert Hutchinson, a friend of the fallen cyclists.
Hutchinson, who is also President of the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition, immediately got to work, increasing education across Las Vegas.
“We decided to come up with a campaign to help do safety and awareness for bicyclists and pedestrians in the valley,” Hutchinson said.
In January, they launched the “Change Lanes for Bikes” campaign, urging drivers to follow the law, by changing lanes or giving at least three feet of space when passing cyclists.
“I have seen a lot of progress in the last six months,” Hutchinson said.
Steps forward have also been taken at the county and state level.
“We’ve been also restriping roads,” said Justin Jones, Clark County Commissioner for District F.
In addition to widening lanes, Commissioner Jones says Clark County has clarified the three feet rule.
“A cyclist can take the full lane when there’s not a shoulder or it’s otherwise dangerous for them to ride on the right side of the road,” Jones said.
Following the Nevada legislative session, Governor Steve Sisolak recently signed Senate Bill 285 into law. Among other things, the legislation requires driver’s education courses to not only focus on cars.
“The rules on cycling safety are incorporated,” Jones said.
Hutchinson says there is still a lot of work to do — and it is all to achieve one goal.
“Making sure that our community is safe, so I don’t have to lose any more friends,” Hutchinson said.
Clark County officials are also working on creating more bike paths in the valley. For example, they are working with the Bureau of Land Management to build trails in the Red Rock area.
Commissioner Jones says construction on the first leg of that project is expected to start next year.