A group of teens have helped the city of Santa Ana secure a $2.37 million grant to help improve roads for pedestrians and bicyclists around the city. Recently, at California Bicycle Summit, the largest bicycle advocacy event in the state, one of the teens took to the stage to share the good news about the grant approval. Maribel Mateo, shared her story about how she founded Bike It! Santa Ana, a group led by teens. The group focuses on bike lane creation and implementation of other safety measures to separate cars from bikes on roadways.
Mateo founded the bike advocacy group, after her father crashed the family car. A lack of money left the family unable to fix the car, which meant that Mateo’s only option to get to and from high school was a bicycle. Her experience traversing the roads of Santa Ana familiarized her with the safety issues that bicyclists face. Santa Ana is a low- income area, so many residents use bicycles as their main form of transportation. Students in the group noticed that one road in particular, Edinger Avenue, was in dire need of bike lanes.
The students worked with nonprofit KidsWorks, as well as local city planners, to write a grant so that they could get state funding for the project. They also created detailed maps and videos to convince state officials those improvements were needed. The teens conducted surveys of 200 area bicyclists to determine where the city could best improve bike safety. The hard work and long hours of Mateo and other group members paid off. In October, they learned that the city of Santa Ana had been awarded the grant, which totals $2,366,000.
The Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP applaud the efforts of Ms. Mateo and her group, Bike It! Santa Ana. Having represented hundreds of injured cyclists, we understand the important role bike lanes play in keeping cyclists safe.