Memorial for cyclists killed by burglary suspect
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- Hundreds of South Florida cyclists rode in honor of two fellow bikers who were killed in a hit and run crash.
Five hundred cyclists rode from Hollywood to Embassy Lakes to Hollywood Beach, according to published reports. "Lord, we ask that the family be lifted up and that you just give them some healing," said cyclist Amy Grieder.
It was a memorial ride to both honor Chris McConnell and Dean Amelkin and urge drivers to share the road with cyclists. "Let's write to Governor Rick Scott and let's ask him to include bicyclists in the Move Over law so that if there's a multi-lane road, a car is coming and sees us, they have to move over by law," said cyclist Grieder.
Last Sunday, a suspected burglar barreled straight into McConnell, 61, and Amelkin, 60, as they pedaled down the same route they had ridden for 25 years.
It's a risk cyclists take every day, riding alongside vehicles on South Florida's packed and dangerous roadways.
"I've been hit by a car twice as well, and I saw this guy die in front of our eyes about three years ago in Weston. Being so many years involved in this, I said, 'This is enough,'" said event organizer Fernando Angel. "We have to go statewide and change the law."
"A lot of them ride every single day, a lot of them ride a couple days a week," said event organizer Jason DeKnegt. "They feel that the cars need to be more aware, the riders themselves need to be more aware."
Last week's tragedy in Cooper City opened old wounds for South Florida's cyclists. Aaron Cohen, 36, lost his life on the Rickenbacker Causeway in February. "We want safer roads, we want a more conscientious community, we want accountability for people who do not drive safely," said the victim's wife Patti Cohen.
Then and now, South Florida's cycling community hopes their voice will be heard locally and in Tallahassee. "Please, when you see a bicyclist, move over and respect us. We're human beings, we're not invisible, and we want to live too," said Grieder. "We want to enjoy our sport, and we want freedom to live just like you."
Riders have started a petition to extend the Move Over law and hope to gather as many as 50,000 signatures.
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)