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Memorial bike ride raises awareness on bike safety

NISKAYUNA -- 10 years ago Sunday, David Ryan died doing what he loved. He was on a bicycle ride, and Sunday, hundreds of cyclists are riding in his memory. But, they're also riding to raise awareness to percent tragedies like that from happening again.

"I worry at times about who's behind me and how close they come," says Robert Preville.

Robert Preville was a close friend of Ryan's. Ryan was 32 years old when he was killed riding his bike along what's called the River Loop. He was struck by a teenage driver who was speeding. That driver was served a one to three year prison sentence. Now, riders like preville are riding to remember.

"It's hard to believe it's ten years, it really is. So, I'm thinking about him, I'm thinking about his parents," he says.

New York State law requires pedestrians and runners to be facing traffic, where as cyclists are required to keep their backs to oncoming traffic. What's tough for these riders to come to terms with, is that David Ryan was doing everything right when he was struck and killed.

"You can do everything that you can as a cyclist to be safe and yet you still will never know what's going to happen," says David Kraus, an organizer of Sunday's ride.

Kraus says drivers need to be aware.

"Every ride I go on someone is in such a hurry to pass that they pass on either a blind corner or a blind hill. And, I appreciate that they are going out in the other lane, to go around me, but the bad side of that is if somebody comes around that bend I know exactly what they're going to do. By instinct they are going to jerk right and they are going to take me out," he says.

Cyclists can also reduce their risk by being extra visible, and keeping reflectors on the bike, even during the daylight hours. Also, by carrying identification. But, when it comes down to it, those driving a car need to slow down.

"Take your foot off the gas for five or ten seconds and relax, and wait until you're around that blind curve, or over that blind hill, and it's safe to pass before you pass a cyclist. Because, if you're a driver and you miscalculate and you hit us, for you it's a dented fender as a driver. For us as a cyclist it's either serious injury or we could be killed."

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