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World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Bicyclists honoring the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims ride on Sunday afternoon on Highway 99W in Corvallis.

A group of around 10 bicyclists rode through Corvallis Sunday afternoon as a way to honor people killed in road traffic.

Dylan Horne, one of the organizers of the ride, said it coincided with World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims, but the event was also intended to honor Eric Austin, a Corvallis cyclist who was killed in in June.

The ride started at the crosswalk through which Austin was riding when he was killed, the one near the First Alternative Co-op south store on Highway 99W.

Horne said that he began planning the ride after a grand jury’s decision late last month to not recommend bringing criminal charges against Jeffrey Scoville, the driver who hit Austin.

“It’s a memorial to Eric,” he said. “There is a lot of tension in the bicycling community. We wanted to have a way for people to express their frustration in a nonviolent way.”

Horne added that he hoped the ride raises awareness so drivers slow down and have more empathy for pedestrians and cyclists around them.

“The road fatalities are needless,” said Horne, an Oregon State University doctoral student in transportation engineering and chair of the city of Corvallis' Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board.

Horne said the Oregon Department of Transportation is planning changes that will make crosswalks on Highway 99W in south Corvallis safer, but if people are willing to take safety more seriously, lives can be saved regardless of those changes.

“It’s about changing the culture around how people drive…” he said. “Safety is something we can all choose to do.”

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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