Memorial Bike Ride for SSU Cyclist Scheduled for Sunday

One month anniversary of collision that claimed the life of popular Sonoma State professor Steve Norwick gives the community "a chance to express their grief"


Sunday, July 8th will mark a full month since in a hit-and-run crash on Petaluma Hill Road while riding his bicycle. Norwick was struck from behind by a driver who did not stop but continued on his way. is facing charges at present.

To demonstrate their continued respect for Norwick, and to give the community a chance to express their grief and concern over the incident, the , Jill B. Nimble Bike Club, and other cycling partners will honor Norwick by holding a memorial bicycle ride on that day, this coming Sunday.

"Everybody was completely saddened by his passing," said Sandra Lupien, outreach director of the SCBC. "For so many friends and former students and family members, it's been a hard loss to bear.

"That why we're having a memorial ride, to give people a chance to express their grief."

While some details remain to be finalized, the memorial bike ride will begin about 10 a.m. from the parking lot of in Rohnert Park

Interested cyclists are asked to gather any time from 9:30 on, and their will be four routes to accommodate a range of rider interests, time and ability, ranging from about 10 to almost 40 miles.

"This will be a beautiful way for the bicycling community to pay our respects to Steve," Lupien said. "I know there are a lot of people in this community who care about him, whether they knew him or not."

Some of the routes will be ridden in silence, in tribute to Norwick. The route choices are as follows:

Since the June 8 incident, there has been a series of car-bike collisions, including the on June 21st that took the life of Brian Laurie, 68, of Sonoma. The driver of the big rig that struck Laurie did stop in that case.

Outside of Healdsburg, on Pine Flat Road, a professional distance cyclist in training, Michael Torckler, was struck by a hit-and-run driver and severly injured. A Rohnert Park man, Arthur Ben Yu, 36, in that case.

Several others over the past couple years have prompted questions about whether or not there are too many cyclists on the road, even suggestions that they should ride on the other shoulder so they are facing traffic.

"That's just the most dangerous thing you can do as a cyclist," said Lupien. "That's the Number One reason bicyclists get into crashes. Getting hit from behind is the most uncommon kind of bike collision, but the most feared."

The SCBC outreach director also pointed out that while car-car collisions are relatively common, bike-car collisions are much less so, and therefore more frequently reported. "Only 18% of bicycle crashes are with a motor vehicle," she said, "and half of those are the fault of the cyclists. The other half are the fault of drivers - that's only 9% of bike crashes."

Lupien dismissed the idea that the popularity of cycling made accidents more common, and likely. "There are way too many people on the road who should not be," she said, referring to drivers with suspended licenses, DUI convictions, or mental disabilities who should not be driving.

"We have to figure out as a society how to deal with those issues," she said.

For more information on the Steve Norwick Memorial Bike Ride and other cycling news, visit the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition online at bikesonoma.org


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