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Today we mourn the loss of a Judge with the Juvenile Division of the Maricopa County Superior Court. Judge John Gaylord was appointed to the Maricopa County Superior Court in 2000 and for the past three years was assigned to the Juvenile Court facility in Mesa. I never had an opportunity to appear in front of Judge Gaylord in the Juvenile Court. However, I know that Judge Gaylord had an outstanding reputation for fairness and compassion. Attorneys I know who appeared in front of him always held a high regard for his professionalism. He also was very active in the community and set a shining example of a model jurist in our state.

Tragically, Judge Gaylord

was killed yesterday evening when his motorcycle was hit by an out-of-control vehicle pulling a trailer.

Judge John M. Gaylord died at the scene of the crash. The Department of Public Safety says his 2005 Harley-Davidson was northbound on State Route 79 outside Florence when the driver of a southbound Land Rover pulling a boat crossed into his lanes.

I am sure that he will be missed by friends, family and colleagues alike and am truly sorry to not have had the privilege of appearing in his court. Maybe Judge Gaylord’s tragic passing will reinforce the notion that roadway safety advocates should not ignore motorcyclists. Motorcycle safety has been a controversial topic lately. Notwithstanding this controversy, this topic should not be overlooked on Arizona roadways. Automobiles, trucks and motorcycles all share our state’s roads and freeways. In light of so many tragic motorcycle accidents and in spite of the safety controversy, the Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the Federal Highway Administration, other safety organizations and drivers alike must all ensure that drivers look out for motorcycles when driving, and freeway planners must consider motorcycle safety when considering roadway expansion or new construction. Our sincere condolences on the loss of Judge Gaylord. Maybe his high profile passing will help reinforce the importance of motorcycle safety to the driving public and to roadway safety engineers.

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