Hit and Run Victim Shares Message to Keep People Safe on the Road

A Encinitas bicyclist who was injured in a hit and run nearly three months ago is now rallying to make the roads safer for everyone.

John Abate was a competitive cyclist until the morning of August 14.

He and a friend had been riding in the designated bicycle lane on Leucadia Boulevard near Quail Gardens Drive when Abate was hit by a white SUV.

The driver took off and has not been arrested.

The crash left Abate with serious injuries. Now, he is not only focusing on continuing the recovery process, but also advocating for safety.

He says the driver was likely speeding in the 45 mile per hour zone but the size of the lanes may also have been a factor in the crash.

“Where I was hit, the lanes are close to 14 feet wide. By narrowing that down to say 11 feet, which is what they're proposing, that could help motorists to slow down, not have as much room so that they're paying more attention inside the lane," Abate said.

He told NBC 7 that he is working with Bike Walk Encinitas which is an organization that aims to make the community safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. He also recently became an ambassador for a product that is not only a bicycle light, but it is also a high definition camera.

Abate said if he had been equipped with a mechanism like that, the outcome would have been much different and the driver would have been caught.

Now, he is sharing his story to spread a message to drivers.

"Just take your time. Make sure that you're not texting or talking on the phone and be vigilant when you're out on the roads looking for cyclists and pedestrians," Abate said.

For cyclists, he said: “Make sure that we're obeying the rules of the road and that we're wearing our helmets when we cycle, we're wearing a light at all times. The little things are really what matter and it definitely saved my life."

Abate siad he understands that drivers sometimes get frustrated with bicyclists and vice versa. But added that at the end of the day, human lives are involved.

“Just because we're out on the roads riding our bike you know, when we finish our ride we get in our cars and we commute, we go to the grocery store, we pick up our kids from school," he said. "So just an awareness that when you're driving on the road and you see cyclists on the road, take that extra second. And if they are obeying the laws you should be obeying the laws as well."

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