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Thousands attend memorial for 2 cyclists killed in accidents

Memorial Ride

This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

More than 1,000 cyclists pedaled around Newport Beach on Sunday in memory of two riders who died last month in separate accidents.

People of all ages participated in the mile-long ride, which aimed to spread awareness about and raise money for bicycle safety, as well as commemorate Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz and Sarah Leaf.

"I'm a cyclist, and I see a lot of need for safety around Irvine, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach," said Kurt Bahneman of the OCC Food Riders Club.

"It's good that we can come together for Kit and Sarah, and raise awareness for bike safety," said Jennifer Wilson, a physician assistant at Newport Family Medicine, who worked with Campion Ritz. "She was the quintessential family practice doctor. Losing her was a huge loss to the community."

David W. McGill, deputy chief and patrol/traffic division commander of the Newport Beach Police Department, said cyclists and drivers alike should know the rules of the road.

"The streets were made for cars," he said. "There's no getting around that. But our goal right now is education. This event, and events like this, is going to help educate the public, not only the motorists but also the bicyclists. People have got to know the rules of the road and what bicyclists can and can't do. This is one event of many that are going to be coming up in the city."

Newport Beach Councilman Rush Hill said he believes the awareness level of cyclists and drivers has become much better recently.

"Improved safety comes from those two entities understanding each other and showing compassion for one another," he said. "We can paint all kinds of things on roads and put all kinds of signs up, but until the individuals in the cars are aware of what's going on, and until the bicyclists follow the traffic laws, then safety will be even greater than it is today."

[For the Record, Oct. 29, 10:46 a.m.: A previous version of this post said two riders died in separate hit-and-runs, but only one was a hit-and-run.]

-- Brittany Woolsey, Times Community News

Photo: Kurt Bahneman of the OCC Food Riders Club and his dog Annabelle prepare to ride in a memorial Sunday for two Newport Beach cyclists who died in September. Credit: Brittany Woolsey / Los Angeles Times

 
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