On August 2nd, Charles Citian and cyclist Ellen Bengtson was hit and killed by a truck while biking. Many members of the local cycling group ‘Bike Around Tuesday’ were terrified by her death – as on that day, they had lost one of their own and on the roads they consistently train on.
Cyclist Steve Swartzrock says after the incident, he had trouble convincing himself to get back on the bike.
Besides grieving, the group decided to do two main things following the death of their fellow rider and friend:
- The first was to hold a ‘Ride of Silence’ in Ellen’s memory and on August 4th, nearly 100 cyclists came and rode the route to pay their respects.
- The second was to create a ‘ghost bike’ – or a bicycle placed where a cyclist had been killed in order to remind vehicles to share the road.
Tons of businesses in the community stepped up and donated to Ellen’s memorial ‘ghost bike’ project. Ace Hardware in Charles City donated the white paint used on the bike – Artwear in Charles City donated the plaque – a fellow cyclist donated the bike. Overall, it was a group effort.
“A tribute to Ellen; a tribute to road safety,” Swartzrock dubbed the statue.