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Patricia Keenan, killed cyclist, honoured in Critical Mass ride

07/23/2015 01:21 EDT | Updated 07/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Cyclists Kelowna, B.C., are planning a ride this Friday to honour the woman killed in a crash last week and to remind people how vulnerable cyclists are while on the road. 

Patricia Keenan, a 38-year old mother, died after she crashed into a car door that unexpectedly opened as she was cycling down Bernard Avenue.

"It made me sick with sadness. Just an awful event," said Michael V. Smith, the organizer of the Critical Mass event.

"It's so easy to kill a cyclist, and cyclists are so incredibly vulnerable and at risk."

Smith has organized a Critical Mass ride to draw cyclists from diverse backgrounds together for a group ride through the city.

"I just put out a call for people to gather and for us to ride together in mourning to honour this really heartbreaking and significant death in the city," said Smith, an avid cyclist.

Smith has invited participants to wear all black.  

Bike infrastructure needed

Besides being a memorial, Smith hopes the event reminds people that cyclists are on the road.

"When you get behind a wheel, you are not just taking your own life in your hands; you are also taking our lives in your hands. That's too easily overlooked," Smith said.

"You don't see us getting off our bikes and accidentally killing people.

"The cyclists of the world are the people who are trying to do a small part in cutting down emissions.

"We're doing all of the work with our butts and our legs. We're the ones who are most vulnerable on the road. We're the ones who are sacrificing the most." 

Smith said he wants to see the government make infrastructure improvements for cyclists, including bike lanes, better bike parking and increased safety measures. 

"Hopefully it makes people think twice before they get out of their car."

The ride will begin at the Sails sculpture on the downtown waterfront on Friday at 6 p.m., head down Bernard Avenue where Keenan was struck and end at the RCMP office on Doyle Avenue.

To hear the full interview with Michael V. Smith, listen to the audio labelled: Critical Mass ride honours Patricia Keenan, cyclist killed in Kelowna.

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