It’s been a sad spring for the cycling community in Tallahassee. Two local cyclists were killed in traffic crashes within a few days of each other, leaving two circles of families and friends without their loved one. Steve Reker was out on a training ride on March 28, when he was hit by a car on US 90. He was a passionate cyclist and long-time member of the club. Always ready to help and encourage others, he was extremely well liked by everyone that had the pleasure of riding with him. Steve’s friend Pete Butler organized a memorial ride the very next day. On Wednesdays, Steve would ride either the Food Lion ride or the Wednesday Chaires ride. This time both groups would be riding in Steve’s honor with assistance from the LCSO. At the intersection of Baum and Capitola more than a hundred riders came together with Steve’s wife Christina and exchanged thoughts, prayers, and memories. Steve will be sorely missed.

Just a few days later Marlene Larmore was out riding the St Marks trail when she was struck by a car at Oak Ridge Road. She would pass away from her injuries a week later.

These incidents illustrate that the most important thing of any trip we take is that we get home safe, whether we drive a car, ride a bike, or are on foot. Crash statistics do not paint a pretty picture. In Leon County, the number of traffic crashes is up 50% with respect to 5 years ago. The number of injuries is up 32%. With 41 traffic fatalities in 2016 in Leon County we’re close to a 20-year record. Traffic behavior is getting worse rather than better. While it is easy to blame others, start with yourself. Set the right example, whether we ride or drive: Obey the speed limit, slow down when pedestrians are present, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, use turn signals, don’t run red lights, don’t use your phone. Talk about it with your family and friends. Be safe.

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