Separate collisions in the Cities of Goleta and Santa Maria have taken the lives of two people biking in Santa Barbara County last week. The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition expresses our deep condolences to the family members of Roman Paredes and Frank Barrios. Roman Paredes was struck by a pickup truck while traveling by bicycle along Calle Real in Goleta, and Frank Barrios was struck while biking on Broadway Street in Santa Maria.
In the collision that killed Roman Paredes, the driver admits to being distracted while driving and looking away from the road, which caused his truck to drift into the bicycle lane. Calle Real has a painted bicycle lane and is a popular bicycling route within the City of Goleta. At 88 years old, Roman Paredes was still an active user of Goleta's streets, and several community members recall seeing him regularly traveling on Calle Real on his three-wheeled tricycle. The family of Roman Paredes is raising funds for funeral expenses on gofundme. Frank Barrios, 57, was taken to the hospital by first responders, where he later succumbed to his injuries. The cause of the collision remains under investigation.
Our streets must be safe for people of all ages, especially for seniors who benefit from healthy and active methods of transportation, including bicycling and walking. It is not acceptable that two members of our community die while biking in our region in one week. These tragedies demonstrate to our elected leaders and agencies that we must make a serious effort to prevent injuries and deaths on our roads. Locally, both Santa Barbara and Goleta City Councils are considering launching Vision Zero Programs in the next month that would reduce fatalities and injuries on our streets through specific, well-researched steps. This would include engineering safer streets, expanding safety education and better traffic enforcement. In light of these recent tragedies, policies and actions to make our streets safer are more needed than ever.