Cyclists ride to remember those killed on roads - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Cyclists ride to remember those killed on roads

Source: WTOC Source: WTOC
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

Dozens of cyclists gathered on Hilton Head Island Sunday morning to remember some of their own killed in car accidents in the last year.

"We lost too many cyclists in the local community over the past year, and two of our own- Dr. Jeff Garske and Dan Carr- in particular," Bill Brewer, member of the Hilton Head Cycling Team, said. "Jeff was a founding member of the club, and Dan was one of our sponsors with First Chatham Bank. Obviously, we feel that loss."

Dan Carr's family and friends attended Sunday's ride and feel that loss too. Carr was hit and killed by a car while cycling in Dublin, Ga. in June.

"I, to be honest, don't think that it will ever feel real that we've lost such an important person to all of us, especially to his wife and her family," Sandra Derouen, who's been Carr's family friend for 30 years, said.

While she has years of memories, Derouen she remembers Carr's love of life and people most.

"He didn't see anything bad in anyone, even if the rest of the world just kind of looked at them like, 'I don't know if I'd trust that character,'" she said. "That just wasn't Dan. He could always find the good in someone. That's, I think, what makes everybody like him and love him the way that we do, and (what) makes his passing be a huge loss for us."

While Sunday's somewhat impromptu gathering was focused on remembering lives lost, it was also an opportunity to remind divers and cyclists to pay attention to each other on the roads.

"Putting it bluntly, drivers and cyclists are human," Brewer said. "People make mistakes, but the sad thing is cyclists, as vulnerable road users, are the ones that really pay the price. Cyclists do have a right to use the road in every state. We are vehicles. We are supposed to be treated like vehicles, and we're supposed to act like vehicles, which means we have to obey the rules of the road as well. Most importantly, we have to look out for each other. We're drivers. We pay taxes. We're also cyclists and want to use the road safely as well. If we have that benefit (of bringing attention to sharing the road with cyclists) today, that's great, but today really is just an informal ride to remember. "

Derouen said, "You see them riding on the road. To them (drivers), they're just a person, but they're not. They're somebody's husband. They're somebody's wife, somebody's father, a grandfather, and it makes a huge impact when we as drivers don't give them the respect that they deserve on the side of the road. It's a true tragedy when someone dies like that."

Derouen said seeing such a large turnout on Sunday is a big deal, and Brewer agreed.

"That's a huge thing," she said. "It says that they are truly concerned about the people that ride next to them, and that they want the rest of the world to also be concerned about those cyclists. It's not just here. It's nationally. We went on vacation not too long ago, and we were riding though the mountains. There was a cyclist going around this mountain. It's a two-lane road not large enough for two cars to go by, and everybody is more concerned about passing him. I'm thinking, 'No, that's someone's husband. You can slow down. It's not going to hurt you to give him the respect and the space until we get to an opening where you can safely pass him.' That needs to be made aware. We need to take their lives into consideration and the people that they belong to, and slow down. Just slow down."

Brewer said, "It's really gratifying. I mean, this is a community. It's a small community, but it's a very, very good community. The sport of cycling itself attracts all folks from all walks, all shapes, all sizes, and it really is kind of special because of that."

The cycling club is also raising money for the Dan Carr Memorial Fund, which will be donated to chairites focused on cycling awareness and wounded military cycling groups.

"Carry on the legacy and just make awareness, so that we can have fewer deaths," Derouen said. "I mean, we all know that at some point in time, something is going to happen to all of us, but let's not (let it) be because we were careless and didn't take into consideration that person's life while they were on the road with us."

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