Hundreds ride to remember fallen cyclist

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of cyclists took the streets of Birmingham, Alabama Monday morning with a special message.

A bike ride on a beautiful day would have been the perfect Labor Day plan for William Robertson.

“William just wanted to ride,” said Patrick Packer, a friend of Robertson’s and the co-founder of Black People Run, Bike & Swim. “He would always say, ‘Let’s just roll, baby! Lets just roll!’”

Robertson was killed Aug. 29 when a truck hit him and two of his friends while they rode their bikes in Blount County.

Demetrious White and his wife were the other two hit. Both were hurt, but Demetrious was well enough to ride Monday.

“I just thank God I’m able to come out and participate,” White said. “It’ll be tough. It’ll be tough, but it’s going to be fun, also.”

White and hundreds of other cyclists pedaled with purpose from Railroad Park, through the south side of Birmingham. It was part of Robertson’s favorite route.

Riders embraced the challenge, knowing that honoring Robertson’s memory can serve a greater purpose.

“William was a rider. He would have wanted us to continue to ride,” said rider Jerri Haslem. “We can’t operate on fear. We’ve got to really operate on the fact that this is a part of who we are, this is our community and this is about being safe on the roads.”

“Whether it be a technician on the side of the road working, or a cyclist, or a jogger, or someone with a stroller — really, safety is the most important thing,” said Richard McBee, another cyclist. “It isn’t worth losing a life over being careless, or in some cases perhaps resentful to those on the roadway.”

Ride United Birmingham will continue to raise funds and awareness to support cycling and motorist education this Saturday, Sept. 12, with a ride through Birmingham’s civil rights landmarks.

For more information, visit Ride United Birmingham’s website.

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