Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Ride honors fallen cyclist

 

Courtesy photo Fifty cyclists gathered for a memorial ride to pay homage to Charles Crenshaw of Niwot who was killed in an accident last week. The cycling community hopes to bring awareness to safety for both motorists and those riding.

A memorial ride was held over the weekend for Charles Crenshaw, a cyclist who was killed on Monday of last week.

The ride was coordinated by Longmont Velo, a bicycle shop on Francis St. where the ride started. It ended at the site of the crash, N. 65th St. and Nelson Road.

Anthony Hardwick, who is the head service mechanic at Velo, said that it was a somber day.

“It was about Mr. Crenshaw and his family,” Hardwick said. “I really wish we could have met all of these people under different circumstances. It’s really sad.”

There were fifty people who took the seven-mile ride in Crenshaw’s honor, and the hope is to raise awareness on road safety.

“As a motorist, we all drive at some point, we just have to remember that when we’re behind the wheels of a vehicle and we’re coming up on a cyclist, we are the ones with the power,” Hardwick said. “We don’t teach kids that are bigger and stronger that they should make the weaker kids get out of the way. I think that’s the biggest thing we can teach people (about sharing the road) is that as a motorist, you are the powerful one. Yield that space.”

He said that shaving a bit of time off of a drive is never worth the possible consequences.

“Even if you lose that fifteen seconds because a cyclist is holding you back, it’s not worth one single life to try and shave fifteen seconds off of your commute,” Hardwick said.

But it doesn’t end there, those riding have a role in safety as well.

“As far as cyclists, we have a lot of responsibility too,” Hardwick said. “We have to be clear in our communication to drivers. Good hand signals and eye contact with the person behind the wheel, which is sometimes difficult.

“But ultimately, the one with the power is the one who should be exercising the most caution and restraint.”

Always wearing a helmet and making sure equipment is working properly are a good start, but it goes beyond that for cyclists.

“The thing I tell people is that you have to be the most defensive than you would ever be in your car,” Hardwick said. “Just assume that the other person doesn’t see you or is texting, assume the worst from a car driver and you’ll be playing it safe.

“Make sure your hand signals are exaggerated and that you’re lit up — people who ride at night with reflectors need to get some headlights and taillights, get lit up like a Christmas tree. I would even say people should have lights during the daytime.”

Laws are already in place to protect bicycle riders from accidents, but they still occur. This was Crenshaw’s death was the second in Boulder County in one week, and the seventh in the last year.

Hardwick said that if motorists slightly changed their way of thinking, these tragedies could be avoided.

“When you’re coming up on a cyclist, treat them as if it was your own kid,” Hardwick said. “When you see them on the road, just realize that that’s someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife. Think it’s your significant other, you’d slow down, give them space and be forgiving if they’re doing something that’s not quite right.”

For cyclists, he said to do anything to the get the driver’s attention, wear bright clothes and “just assume the worse and you can anticipate the best.”

Hardwick said that the owners of Longmont Velo have been tossing around the idea of hosting safe cycling classes and organizing group rides — safety in numbers.

“We’re just going to try and contribute to the community so that we can build a culture of safe cycling,” Hardwick said. “That’s what needs to be done.”

As for Saturday’s ride to honor Crenshaw, Hardwick said that people need to remember that cyclists are people too and that motorists need keep that in mind.

“Talking with Mr. Crenshaw’s family on Saturday, it’s clear we lost a really great guy,” Hardwick said. “They shared a lot of love for that man. If there’s one thing I want drivers to realize it’s that they need to treat cyclists like it’s their loved one, maybe that way we won’t lose another great human being again. I didn’t have the privilege of meeting of him, but I really wish I had.”

 

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