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Memorial Ride, New Orleans Style

Come join us celebrate Iain's life in New Orleans, Sunday March 20th.

Iain Gerrard would have finished his 1,500 mile bike tour with a fun, slow-paced ride through the French Quarter, but sadly, the opportunity was taken from him. His parents, William and Jean Gerrard, are coming to New Orleans to experience the bike ride that their son was never able to finish.

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On Sunday, March 20, 2016, Bike Easy and Bike Law would like you to help us welcome William and Jean to New Orleans with a ride to celebrate Iain’s life. Join us as we meet on bikes in Crescent Park at 1 p.m., to ride with a brass band through the Bywater, French Quarter, and Warehouse District, and pause for a moment of silence at the future site of Iain’s Where Ya’ Rack bicycle rack and honorary ghost bike, then ultimately honor Iain’s life at a celebratory get together at Wood Pizza and Taphouse (404 Andrew Higgins Drive in New Orleans). Attendance is free. Beverages will be provided, as well as spoke cards and other in memoriam remembrances of Iain.

In July 2014, 23 year-old Iain Gerrard (pronounced “EE-uhn”) set out from Toronto to New Orleans on his bicycle. Over 1,000 miles into his journey, Iain approached the town of Tunica, Mississippi on U.S. Highway 61. As he neared the small town, Mr. Atma Gill, an 18-wheeler driver, approached Iain in his truck – following closely behind.

For reasons that will never be understood, Mr. Gill hit Iain from behind and killed him instantly. At the time of the 3:00 p.m. accident, the weather was clear and the roadway was straight and free from any visual obstructions. Despite these ideal driving conditions, the Mississippi Highway Patrol blamed Iain for his own death. This was largely due to Mr. Gill’s statements that Iain was riding against traffic and pulled right in front of the truck. Such statements were nearly too much for Iain’s parents to handle as they attempted to cope with the loss of their only child.

A forensic analysis ultimately showed that Iain was riding with traffic and was rear-ended. The Mississippi Highway Patrol received this analysis and revised their report to show that the crash occurred because Mr. Gill failed to safely pass Iain. At best, Mr. Gill was not paying attention to the road for at least 15 seconds prior to impact. At worst, Mr. Gill falsified his story to protect himself from culpability. Unfortunately, however, the glaring misinformation that he provided, the police still refused to issue Mr. Gill even a minor traffic citation.

This situation proves, once again, why we oppose the term “bicycle accident.”  There was nothing accidental about it.

To prevent a similar tragedy from occurring again, William and Jean want to do everything in their power to raise awareness about equal and safe access for all roadway users, including adequate enforcement when someone loses a life on a bicycle.

31a54005-9863-448c-841b-68d510857153Please email me ([email protected]) if you have any questions and we’ll otherwise look forward to you taking Iain’s ride with us on March 20. To learn more about Iain’s story, please read the article published in The Toronto Star.

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