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Hundreds of cyclists ride in unison for safety on roads

KVUE Austin: Hundreds of cyclists ride in unison for safety on roads

by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Posted on May 3, 2012
Updated May 4, 2012

AUSTIN --- At least several hundred cyclists flocked to Austin City Hall Thursday evening for a ride with a message.
“I'm very, very lucky. Very lucky,” said John Simpson, a cyclist and survivor of a hit and run accident.

Simpson, a classically-trained chef, was heading to his job at the Austin Children’s Shelter in October 2010 when a driver struck him from behind, leaving him in the road for dead. Simpson was in a coma for weeks. Thursday’s ride was his first time to get on a bicycle on the road in more than a year.

“You know, I could have been dead,” said Simpson, fighting back tears. He added that he hoped the ride would raise awareness and prevent more cases like his.

The event "Pedaling for Safer Roads," was sponsored by the group Please Be Kind to Cyclists.

Several hundred cyclists left Austin City Hall and headed to the State Capitol, hoping to send a message to drivers and fellow bicyclists alike about sharing the road.

“We're just as serious about safety as they are. We're just as concerned due to the recent events of the past few weeks,” said Melissa Palmardez, one of Thursday’s participants.

According to Austin police, there have been at least 102 crashes between vehicles and bicycles so far this year. Several of the crashes in our area have been fatal.

“I just want Austin to be as safe as it says it is," said Jessica Stevens, a cyclist and hit-and-run survivor. "I want to see less accidents. I want to see more people riding for our health and for our safety.”

Next week friends of Verter Ginestra, a 55-year-old hit and killed on the Capital of Texas Highway last week, will have a memorial ride in his honor.