Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rider Down: Sam Avery, 64

Last Saturday, while participating in the Tour de Valley, Sam Avery was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. The driver was later arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run.
I did not know Sam, but we have apparently shared the road on many organized rides. A memorial ride will be held for him this evening. These details were passed along to me by both Tom Ezell and Jon Aldrich:

Dear Cyclists,

It is with deep sorrow that I inform you one of our very own cyclists, Sam Avery, was killed on Saturday while participating in the River Valley Fest ride benefiting the Boys and Girls Club.

Bryon Moudy (Highlander Cycling) is calling all cyclists to participate in the Sam Avery Memorial Ride that will be held on Thursday, August 25, starting at 6pm at the Old Post Park and end at Cornwell Funeral Home in Dardanelle on 207 Quay Street. Visitation at the funeral home will be on Thursday from 6-8pm.

If you are able to make this ride, please do. If you are from the Russellville area, please pass this along to all cyclists you know who would like to pay tribute to Sam Avery.
Thank you.


Millie Clayton
AR Wine Country Bike Tour
River Valley Circle of Friends Chapter
Arkansas Children's Hospital

It is always a tragedy when we lose a rider from among our ranks, especially when the rider is doing everything right. Most of us feel that organized rides offer a degree of safety due to the number of riders on the road and, hopefully, increased driver awareness as they pass numerous riders, course markers and rest areas along the way.
Let's all be careful out there.


Tom Ezell said...

Two out of the five cycling fatalities in Arkansas this year happened on organized event rides... Not only Sam, but Mary Jo French died on the Ranch Ride back in June. Rides in Arkansas take place on the open, "shared" roads... right out there with the cars. Not a good place to be riding like we're in a bike race.

JBar said...

Tom, I don't understand your comment. Neither of those riders were killed because they were "riding like we're in a bike race." I would venture to say that a fast pace line on the open road is much safer than a single rider moving at a much slower speed relative to traffic. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the logic of your statement eludes me.

crews said...

My prayers go out to his family and the safety of our fellow cyclist across the state and country.

Alice said...

From what I understand about Mr. Avery, he was probably riding by himself at the time of the accident. He was an experienced cyclist, but his physical limitations (I understand he had an atrophic leg due to a childhood bout with polio) made him one of the slowest riders to leave on the "long" Tour de Valley route. The road he was riding on is commonly used by area cyclists, including my family, and I've always thought of it as a lower-traffic, "safer" road (as opposed to the nearby US 64, for example). The situation of the accident strikes me as something that was absolutely unpreventable, except on the part of the driver.

Chris said...

@JBar -

I don't know how many of the local organized rides (TdR, BDB, etc.) you've participated in, but in the dozen or so that I've been a part of, there are absolutely riders who treat the event as a race and - what's worse - as an excuse to ignore good cycling habits. That's not likely the case with Mr. Avery, but it is still an issue which we, as a cycling community, need to work to correct.

Avery said...

Sam avery wad an experienced and safe rider. Yes he had his ' limitations' but that never got n his way. He and i rode n a lot of organized rides together, as well an countless long and short rides n training. Yes he n i were slower than many of the other riders but that had nothIn to do with him being murdered on that ride that mornin! It was clear n nearly no traffic whatsoever. She was drunk, doped, or lackin... That is y he was killed. That rode has no sides to it; thetefore it is more dangerous than some roads but cars should share the road legally with any kind of bikes. On the very mornin of his death. At nearly the same time he n i were seperated because i had to stop, someone slowed at a stop sign n ignored i was right there within 5 feet of them. They just pulled put n xrossed the road wirh no nitice i even was there. Three months ago a truck turn right n front of me. I skidded sideways, hit his bumper n flipped n landed on my back. I hurt my arm, hip, and jacked up my bike! People just dont care.