- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (AP) - Matthew Weede’s family joined more than a 100 cyclists Sunday on a memorial ride to honor the late teen and promote bicycle safety on the roadways.

“Something needs to be done because Matthew is not the first (to die) and won’t be the last,” his stepmother, Isabelle Weede said. “People need to slow down and look around.”

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1LarclC) cyclists rode in silence along U.S. Highway 90 from the Pass Christian Harbor to the Gulfport Harbor in memory of the teen, who died June 5, a day after a car hit his bicycle in George County.

The Gulf Coast Bicycle Club hosted the memorial ride, which also honored another cyclist critically injured June 7 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Biloxi.

Carol Blandino, of Gulfport, lost her brother-in-law more than 10 years ago when a car struck him while riding his bike in Chalmette, Louisiana.

“What we are trying to do is bring awareness to the three-foot law,” she said, which is the amount of space a motorist must give a cyclist when passing them.

“Some of the drivers get as close as they can to you,” said Blandino, who wears a rearview mirror attachment so she can see how close vehicles are. “If they don’t look like they are getting over, all you can do is try to move over if you can. But if you hit a rock or something and your bike moves in a different direction, you could get hit if they’re too close.”

State law requires cyclists to travel in the same direction as vehicles, to ride in the right lane when possible and to give hand signals. Motorists passing them are required to allow at least three feet of space beside them.

Cyclists said most motorists do not know the bicycle laws, which often is the reason for collisions.

They are hoping Sunday’s ride will help bring attention to the state law on cycling to keep future riders from being injured or killed.

Weede’s father, Michael Weede, said his son was an advocate for bicycle safety and his family wants to continue to honor him by promoting safety.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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