Injured cyclist fighting to keep fellow bikers safe

Injured cyclist fighting to keep fellow bikers safe »Play Video
SEATTLE -- As the weather warms up, more people are heading outdoors.

But the warmer weather means runners -- and especially bicyclists -- are facing more safety challenges on the road.

There's currently a state law meant to protect them, but advocates say that law has no teeth.

One cyclist said a bad crash left her in bad shape, and the law should have added extra punishment for the driver who hit her. Now she's raising her voice to help make sure the law does its job.

To see Heather Barnett getting ready for a ride, it's amazing to think of where she has been. There was a time she thought she wouldn't be able to even get on a bike again.

"Well, first a walker because I couldn't use my arms very well, and then crutches and a cane," she said.

Last September a driver hit Barnett while she was biking near 8th Avenue NW.

"There were stop signs on the side street, and somebody blew through and just ran right into me," she said.

She broke both her wrists and shattered her lower leg, which needed metal screws and cadaver bones.She couldn't walk for a month and a half.

The pain of her life will heal, but the justice she wants has yet to happen.

Barnett wants stiffer enforcement of the Vulnerable User Law that started last July. It says negligent drivers face a 90 day license suspension and a $5,000 fine on top of any other punishments.

But Barnett said that law wasn't applied in her case because the officers weren't familiar with it. So now she's pushing for attention.

"It was just to raise awareness, to think that this is a serious issue and this isn't something we should take lightly," she said.

Barnett said she will keep going to court so others can get justice, too. Others who want to ride safely, no matter where they've been.

Barnett's legal case is bouncing around the court with different charges for the driver who hit her. Because that driver did not have insurance, Barnett is likely to purse a civil case.