CASPER, Wyo. — More than 75 cyclists streamed onto First Street past the white bicycle memorial on Beech Street in downtown Casper on Thursday night.
The group included avid mountain bikers, road cyclists and concerned citizens. They rode to raise awareness for cycling safety in the area and to remember Matthew Harker, the cyclist killed last week in a collision with an SUV.
"We want to show people that we do have a community of cyclists here that wants to build a positive and safe community not just for us but for generations to come," said the founder of Bike Safe Wyoming, John Kirlin.
Kirlin said much can be done to improve the safety of cyclists in Casper and statewide.
For Kirlin, the key isn't simply about cyclists. Kirlin said educating motorists and pedestrians is key to raising awareness as well.
"It's unfortunate that someone had to die to raise this kind of awareness," Kirlin said.
The cross section of cyclists attending the event was noticeable as the police escort led the group from the lot onto the street. Casper City Councilman Bob Hopkins joined the group to promote awareness.
"I really believe Casper wants to be a more bike-friendly community," Hopkins said. "In that respect, every time you see a lot of cyclists together, that makes it a more bike-friendly community because people just start looking out for them."
The group ended the ride with a brief prayer of remembrance at the site of the fatal collision May 29.