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Palm Springs cyclist killed on cross-country ride honored at ‘Ride of Silence’

It is National Bike Month and local cyclists are taking to the streets in Palm Springs for a memorial ride in honor of cyclists who were killed or injured in collisions with cars.

The Ride of Silence begins at 6:30 p.m. at the south entrance of Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs with a group of speakers including local city leaders and biking activists.

Organizers of the event said since 2010, 35 people lost their lives to cars on local streets while riding their bikes in the valley.

Last month, Palm Springs residents Lauri Aylaian and Keith Culver were hit by a car in Austin, Texas, while on a cross-country bicycle ride from San Diego to Florida. Aylaian is still recovering from a leg injury; Culver died the next day from his injuries.

"We made it as far as Austin, Texas," Aylaian said. "We were a little more than halfway across the country, when the morning of March 30, a car came from behind and hit first Keith, and then me."

Culver was thrown 15 feet and his bike was broken into pieces. Aylaian walked away with a leg injury she's still recovering from. But her friend and riding partner later died from his injuries. The driver, she said, did not stop.

Wednesday's 5-mile Ride of Silence is in honor of the dozens of bicyclists hurt or killed in the valley. John Siegel is one of the organizers.

"One of the problems that we have in the Coachella Valley is that there are some big roads that are very fast," Siegel said. "It's not always the case the drivers know when it's appropriate for a cyclist to be on a certain road."

Local cyclists hope to push their message that people on bikes have a legal right to share the road, and that it can be dangerous – even if they do everything right.

"We were following all the laws," Aylaian said. "We were wearing high visibility fluorescents and coloring, flashing lights, helmets, we were far on the side of the road, and the road was wide enough to accommodate all of us. But nonetheless, we lost a really good person."

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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