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A bicycle commuter who rides four miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving and about 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year.

Active Trans staffer lauded by state’s attorney

Congratulations to Active Trans staff member Jason Jenkins for receiving the 2014 Victim Service Award from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office./

The annual award honors citizens and organizations that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support and advocate for victims and their rights.

Jenkins, who was among four recipients to receive the award in a recent ceremony, was honored for his work on the case of Hector Avalos, who was killed by a driver while riding his bike home from work last December. The driver was charged with a felony aggravated DUI and two misdemeanor DUI charges.

“Our work with CPD and the state’s attorney’s office will hopefully strengthen our relationships with these agencies,” said Jenkins. “We hope that we can be allies in advocating for enforcement strategies that can improve safety for people biking and walking, as well as for justice for cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured by reckless drivers.”

“Many cyclists and pedestrians who are injured in crashes — often through no fault of their own — are typically unaware of their rights or what recourse they have,” said Jenkins.

“It is not uncommon for them to be carted off to the ER unconscious while the driver gives their version of the crash to the police,” he said. “Or if they are able to stay on the scene, they are often bruised and rattled with adrenaline and at a disadvantage when it comes to advocating for themselves. Add to that the prevalent bias against cyclists and pedestrians in crashes combined with a victim blaming culture and oftentimes the victim of crashes, the physically vulnerable bicyclist and pedestrian, wind up being re-victimized by a system that is not designed to protect their interests.”

“It’s important and meaningful for people in that position to have a knowledgeable advocate who can help look out for them,” said Jenkins.

The purpose of Active Trans’ Crash Support Program is also to provide the friends, relatives and coworkers of the victims of fatal crashes with opportunities to advocate for the slain cyclists as the case relating to their crashes proceeds through the courts.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be recognized for the work, said Jenkins. But really, I share the award with the rest of the staff at Active Trans and our members, who have created the foundation and provided the environment for the work to happen in the first place.”

In addition to the current honor, Jenkins also received a special commendation from the Chicago Police Department earlier this year for his outreach work after a bicycle crash claimed the life of bicycle advocate Bobby Cann last May.

Photo shows Jason Jenkins at the podium and Cook County State's Attorny Anita Alvarez seated left of the podium

This blog post was written by Active Trans volunteer Lynda Barckert.