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'Share the Road' group ride to honor injured cyclists, promote safety

Share the Road on Wednesday, September 17, at 5:30 p.m.
Share the Road on Wednesday, September 17, at 5:30 p.m.
Dee Van Cleave

There's no reason drivers and cyclists should be at odds. The public roads are free for both to use, and all are expected to follow the same laws and common traffic courtesies.

Even so, there are misconceptions and tensions between motorists and bicyclists. That's why Team Rocket Tri Club is hosting the Share the Road group ride on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Cyclists will depart Redstone Arsenal's Gate 9 at 5:30 p.m. The ride is designed to raise awareness of cyclists and safety among cyclists. It will also honor Joanna Whisenant and Jennifer Carroll, two Huntsville cyclists injured earlier this summer while they were biking into work. A car hit them from behind near Gate 9.

"Both are seasoned cyclists," said fellow cyclist Melissa Wood. "They were doing everything right, such as using lights, reflective clothing, and riding at a time when traffic would be light. Last week another cyclist was hit from behind, this time on Bailey Cove Road. This man was also doing everything right - he had a total of 6 lights and was wearing bright yellow. He also was seriously injured and will be in a back brace for up to three months. Unfortunately, this was a hit and run and the driver has yet to be found."

Following a string of cyclist fatalities in 2013, Huntsville launched the "See and be Seen" campaign last October. But there's still more work to be done, according to local cycling groups.

"The ride is to remind the public that cyclists have the same legal right to be on the road as all vehicles," said Wood. "A lot of people also think we should be riding on the sidewalks, but don't know that that is actually illegal."

The event will feature a 10 - 15-mile course with pace groups. There will also be a safety clinic prior to 5:30 p.m. ride. All participants are required to have a safety vest, bicycle lights and photo ID.

To learn more or to register, visit Fleet Feet Huntsville in Jones Valley.