Memorial Ride for Audrey Hull
27 April 2011
I joined hundreds of other cyclists for the Memorial Ride for Audrey Hull. Audrey was hit and killed by a truck on Thursday, the 21st of April, 2011. I was shocked when I learned about the crash and deeply saddened that this young woman had been killed. It was heartening to see such a fantastic turnout of cyclists who knew members of the family as well as cyclists who simply turned out to show support. I know Audrey’s sister through work. Nearly all cyclists were wearing at least a little white, at the request of the organizer, and some had cat-themed accessories because Audrey loved cats.
During the Memorial Ride, I met Audrey’s mother, father, and brother. Her parents, Suzi and Harry Henrichs, and her siblings, Michaela and Jonathon, handled themselves with such grace. I was amazed - truly amazed. Both Audrey's mother and father rode with the group, and I found that act quite moving. I heard Suzi thanking cyclist after cyclist for coming. Honestly, nearly nothing could have kept me away. Later, when her father took the megaphone to say a few words, I couldn't keep the tears away.
It was an emotional ride. And the weather did not cooperate. At around 7:45p, I had noticed some snow flakes, but I choose to believe that those snow flakes didn’t actually exist. Until Audrey’s mom, Suzi, said that she thought it was snowing. The weather went downhill from there.
For one of the laps, I rode with Suzi, and we chatted about motherhood, aging, and the weather. Right before she turned to return to the park, I said, I cannot even imagine what it must be like. Her response was that she couldn’t imagine either – her life had yet to return to its “normal” routine, she said, and she couldn’t imagine what that will be like.
One issue I had regarding the Memorial Ride is apparently the police wanted us to ride in smaller groups as opposed to one large group. Their supposed reasoning was to minimize the disruption to motorized traffic. My problem with this lies with the loss in the intention of the event – to come together as a community of cyclists to mourn the loss of Audrey’s life in a truck-bike crash. I felt the event became rather disjointed and that we lost the sense of our common purpose, our sense of community. Finally, in my view, a major issue at hand is the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in the area. I feel that putting the convenience of the operators of heavy vehicles ahead of the purpose of this event sent a clear message that cyclists are less important than motorized vehicles.
People frequently ask me what I know regarding the events surrounding Audrey’s death. I have yet to see a credible report of the events that Thursday morning. In fact, I have seen conflicting descriptions of what happened. One thing I do know is that it simply should not have happened. The operators and manufacturers of heavy vehicles like cars and trucks simply must be held to a higher safety standard.