Join us on Oct. 29
Bike Florida is inviting all cyclists to join us in Gainesville on Saturday morning, Oct. 29, for a Ride of Silence from the University of Florida to Depot Park, where we will have a the formal dedication of the Florida Share The Road Memorial.
The story of the Share The Road Memorial is a compelling one. Twenty years ago, on the day after Christmas in 1996, a group of six cyclists were riding from Gainesville to St. Augustine. They were traveling in a pace line on a rural road in Clay county when a distracted driver in a pickup truck slammed into all six cyclists.
Two of the riders, Margaret Raynal and Doug Hill, were killed instantly. The other four, Lauri Triulzi, Charles Hinson, Eric Finan, and Jessica Green all suffered various injuries. The driver was never charged for his deadly moment of distraction. And the crash sent shock waves through the Florida cycling community.
Months later, friends, relatives and supporters gathered next to the rail-trail on Gainesville’s Depot Avenue to erect six sculptures as a memorial to the cyclists. Designed by artist Eric Amundson, the rammed-earth structures contained parts of the smashed and ruined bicycles retrieved from the crash site. Over the years however, the sculptures fell into neglect. An informational kiosk was dismantled. The rail-trail was rerouted. Weeds and overgrown landscaping eventually obscured the structures from public view.
Over the past two years Bike Florida has raised and pledged $16,000 for restoration of the sculptures and their surroundings. In partnership with the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency the grounds surrounding the sculptures have been completely renovated and relandscaped.
On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 29, the sculptures, which now anchor the northeast corner of Gainesville’s new Depot Park, will be formally dedicated and renamed the Share The Road Memorial.
All are invited to the dedication ceremony. Cyclists are encouraged to gather at 9 a.m. on the campus of the University of Florida for a Ride of Silence to Depot Park in honor of Margaret and Doug. The starting point for the Ride of Silence will be the site of the Kermit Sigmon/Margaret Raynal Memorial located between LIttle Hall and the College of Architecture building. Riders will proceed east on NE 2nd Avenue and then south on Main Street on a two mile ride to Depot Park.
At 10 a.m. the dedication ceremony will begin. This will include comments by Bike Florida President Leigh Matuick, sculptor Eric Amundson, Linda Crider – a Bike Florida founder and close friend to Margaret – and others who were involved in the creation of the sculptures. We also hope as many of the surviving cyclists as possible will be in attendance, as well as friends and family members of cyclists who were killed. Linda Crider will read a poem she wrote in memory of the victims.
The dedication ceremony will conclude with the unveiling of a large, concrete three-panel sign that has been erected next to the sculptures. The signage will tell the story of the crash and the creation of the sculptures, and will issue a “call to action” asking all users, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike, to take the Share The Road Pledge to use the public roadways safely and responsibly.