Local advocate sets up bike memorial where cyclist was killed in Greenville last week


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A local cycling advocate set up a memorial for the cyclist killed in a crash in Greenville last week.

That accident happened on Memorial Drive near Peed Drive. Rufus Lacy, 48, died at the scene.

Now, Steven Hardy-Braz has has set up a memorial. He’s hopeful people driving by will see it and think twice about speeding, texting and driving while drunk.

“This intersection, this area has killed two people on bicycles in the last few months,” said Hardy-Braz. “When is enough?”

It’s been seven days since Lacy rode his bike down Memorial Drive and didn’t make it to his destination. The scene is much different now. All that remains is a ghost bike with a sign that says “a cyclist was killed here.”

“Perhaps they’ll realize the cost and human tragedy of speeding, of distracted driving, driving while intoxicated and maybe they’ll think twice,” said Hardy-Braz. “Maybe they’ll call a friend, a Lyft, an Uber, maybe they’ll slow down.”

Hardy-Braz said the problem lies in the road.

“It’s a busy road that people go to work on,” he said. “They live on, they shop, they recreate. There’s absolutely no sidewalks, no bike lanes, nothing to protect the variety of users here. There are big cars going quickly and killing people.”

Aaron Short agrees that Memorial Drive is dangerous. His stepson, Kari Williams, was hit and killed while riding his bike down that road back in November.

“A road like this that’s busy where people don’t have cars and don’t have licenses that have got to get back and forth to work or back and forth to stores,” said Short. “This is one of the roads you’re going to have to cross somewhere or another.”

Williams’ accident happened just blocks away from where a car hit Lacy.

“I was like wow,” said Short. “I mean it’s one of them things where you hardly want to believe, but you’ve got to believe it.”

Now, Short and Hardy-Braz are working together to raise awareness for safer roads.

“Every death lessens each of us and I think having a memorial for Mr. Lacy recognizes that we’ve lost a person, a family is grieving and that these things are preventable,” said Hardy-Braz.

Hardy-Braz said it’s especially important to be careful on the roads with the Fourth of July coming up. There will be lots of people on the roads for the holiday weekend.

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