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Survivor of the Kalamazoo bike crash reflects on the tragedy five years later

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Survivor of the Kalamazoo bike crash displays on the tragedy 5 years later

On June 7, 2016, a pickup truck crashed into a gaggle of bicyclists in Kalamazoo County, killing 5 individuals and injuring 4 others. 5 years later, cyclists within the space are reflecting on the aftermath of the crash.

Paul Runnels is a member of the Chain Gang Bicycle Club, and one of many 4 survivors. He stated the crash impacted him and different survivors bodily and emotionally in methods he nonetheless feels at present.

“None of us who survived the crash have any actual reminiscence of the crash. The reminiscences are actually of the individuals who died within the crash who’re not with us. They had been nice members of the neighborhood, each one in every of them,” he stated. 

The 5 individuals who died had been Debbie Bradley, Melissa Fevig-Hughes, Tony Nelson, Larry Paulik, and Suzanne Sippel.

Runnels stated the help of the neighborhood each instantly after the crash and within the 5 following years has been wonderful for him and different survivors.

“We have all mirrored about what it is meant to us over the intervening years. We—the survivors—have all made aware selections to go forward and transfer ahead with our lives, proceed bicycling, proceed being lively open air. All of us had been lively previous to the crash,” he stated.

He stated that cyclists have stated they’ve seen optimistic adjustments in how cyclists and motorists share the roads within the 5 years since 2016.

“As we trip round on the roads of Kalamazoo County and the encircling space, I feel one factor that we’ve observed throughout our rides is that motorists do are typically extra conscious of bicyclists on the highway,” stated Runnels.

Runnels desires to emphasise Bike Pleasant Kalamazoo’s mission of highway security: give bicyclists on the highway 5 ft of area when passing in a automotive. Bicyclists ought to be as seen as potential on the highway, as nicely: lights on the entrance and rear of the bike and vibrant clothes go a good distance.

“I’ve even have motorists cease and thank me for being seen, so it is a crucial factor,” he stated.

The Chain Gang nonetheless meets each Tuesday night to trip. The group will bear in mind the 5 individuals who died throughout their weekly trip on Tuesday, June 8.

“Every particular person is actually free to rememebr the occasions of that evening and the individuals who had been concerned in their very own methods, and we would like the neighborhood to remember that we actually respect what all of the members of the neighborhood have completed, not simply within the quick post-crash time interval, but additionally subsequently to that,” he stated. “Being extra conscious of bicyclists and pedestrians and simply being somewhat extra pleasant and thoughtful to fellow residents on the highway.”

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