Share the Road campaign pushes for vehicle safety The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Share the Road campaign pushes for vehicle safety

Share the Road campaign pushes for vehicle safety

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Tribune Staff Writer

Jennifer Canziani was riding her motorcycle north on Scottsdale Road and was nearly to Cave Creek when tragedy struck.

A woman who was playing with gadgets in her boss’ car swerved near Canziani, whose husband saw it all through a rear-view mirror.

“My husband was in front of me and I said, on the microphone, ‘I don’t think that girl is going to stop,’” said Canziani, a Red Mountain High School graduate who now lives in Maricopa.

“I looked over and it was like our eyes clicked and everything went in slow motion. I went sliding and she sped off. I was out of my body and watched myself get attached to her car and drag me. I just closed my eyes.”

When everything stopped, Canziani’s jacket was ripped apart and her shoe was off. She was afraid to look at her leg.

“The whole leg was shattered,” said Canziani. “I had pins and plates in there. I couldn’t walk for almost six months. When I started walking in rehab, my bone shifted in my knee, so I kept tearing my meniscus and ACL. In seven months, they had repaired it four times.”

Last year saw a record number of motorcycle fatalities – along with more than 3,000 motorcycle and 123,000 vehicle crashes in which people were hurt.

The Share the Road campaign is a statewide public awareness effort aimed at focusing Arizona motorists on the critical need to be undistracted when driving and to train motorcyclists how to ride more defensively.

This multipronged movement, which is geared to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on Arizona roads, is supported and promoted by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Arizona Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Foundation, Dignity Health, Arizona Trauma Association, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Law Tigers, RideNow and Rosenbluth Family Charitable Foundation.

Gov. Doug Ducey recently said the time is now to focus drivers and riders on the critical importance of sharing the road with respect and being completely aware of their surroundings.

The nonprofit Arizona Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Foundation and its partners – healthcare, insurance, legal, police departments, corporations, small business and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety – also stress the need for Arizona motorists and motorcyclists to avoid distractions.

According to foundation Executive Director Mick Degn, Share the Road leaders promote the need for drivers/riders to share the road and to be more aware of their surroundings as they travel.

Efforts include public safety outreach and community grassroots efforts including billboards, police safety events and working with social media.

“Our program is the only one of its kind in the United States,” Degn said. “We need everyone’s support and involvement to continue to increase awareness. Just as importantly, we want to work with Arizona businesses to develop driver/rider safety awareness ideas and initiatives.

“After all, the people sharing our roadways are your family members, customers, friends and colleagues. Their lives matter as does their safety and the safety of others.”

One day, Canziani’s orthopedic surgeon told her he would stop repeatedly fixing her leg and encouraged her to stay in a wheelchair.

“I’m not the type to stay in a wheelchair,” she said. “I asked for my other options. One was a knee replacement, but he couldn’t do it because my leg had too much damage. He said I needed a better orthopedic surgeon.”

He referred Canziani to another doctor, who also said her leg was too damaged.

“I don’t know if there’s a doctor in town who can do it,” she recalls him saying. “I was giving up hope. I was thinking I was really going to have to stay in a wheelchair. My kids were in high school, about to graduate, and start their lives.”

The next orthopedic surgeon was confident, but Canziani had her doubts. In four years, she had 13 surgeries. This doctor told her everything was all right, but she had an undiagnosed yeast infection in her knee.

“He didn’t know what he was doing,” she said. “I was a guinea pig to him. I’m not trying to bash him or anything. I felt like he dropped the ball and didn’t want to pick it back up after a while.”

She went septic after her 13th surgery and, thankfully, there was an infectious disease doctor nearby. On April 22, 2016, Canziani was advised to go to the doctor because she was dying.

“I was trying to figure out why my doctor didn’t just sit me down and say, ‘Let’s take this leg,’” she recalled.

“I brought it up a couple times. I remember him saying it was a good leg. I was going to be fine. I ended up losing my leg.”

Canziani now has a prosthetic leg. Throughout her counseling, she was told to fight her fears and get back on a motorcycle. She tried trikes and conversions, but neither one worked until she found a Ryker.

“It’s this weird-looking bike,” she said with a laugh. “It’s all in the wrist. It has one wheel in the front and two in the back. It looks like the Batmobile.

“I get on it and I ride still – with a helmet. My husband doesn’t want to see another accident. He saw it from his rear-view mirror and heard it in his speaker in his helmet. By the time he was able to pull off and get to my rescue, I was already done sliding.”

Canziani admittedly has anxiety issues, especially about a certain North Scottsdale intersection, but that’s to be expected. As for the girl who hit her, she returned to the scene and was cited. ′

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