“Just slowing down, not being in a hurry, don’t look at your phones; those kinds of things that we’ve heard millions of times, but it makes a big difference because one moment can be completely life-changing for someone,” Becky Raeke said.
Unfortunately for Bike Wichita Falls co-chair Becky Raeke, and the large biking community here in Wichita Falls, which includes Precinct One Commissioner Mark Beauchamp, they are dealing with the loss of one of their own.
“We’re a close-knit biking community, so when one is injured or one goes down, we all feel it and we all respond, so it’s been a tough few days for our community,” Beauchamp said.
“Our whole community, not just the bike community, is saddened by the loss of Nancy and what happened yesterday, but we’re using this as a learning opportunity, and her life is going to be honored and her joy of cycling will be honored,” Raeke said.
This comes after an accident on the morning of May 19 between a truck and a cyclist, which resulted in the death of Beaver.
“A couple of families’ lives will never really be the same,” Beauchamp said. “We have a family without their mother and grandmother, and we also have the family of the driver of the vehicle that’s going to be terribly affected by this as well.”
An avid cyclist, mother and grandmother, Nancy Beaver has a ghost bike memorial set up in her honor, as flowers already flock to the site.
Cyclists around town, like Beauchamp, highlight the dangers they deal with every ride.
“We tend to forget that, especially if we’re in a hurry and a bike might be in our way and might slow us down a little bit, just remember that they’re people, and if something happens to them, it affects lives all around town,” Beauchamp said.
Fully paying attention, looking closely for bikes and pedestrians, the safety list goes on to avoid these types of accidents.
But most of all, cyclists like Raeke want people to realize who’s on that bike.
“People who ride bikes could go to your church, they could be your doctor, could be your garbage man, like these are people that live everyday lives, they have children and grandchildren,” Raeke said. “Just consider that when you’re out there in your car, and look out for them.”
Raeke added a lot of good advice on teaching young kids the importance of bike safety early, not just for riding, but when they become drivers too.
Also be on the lookout for an official memorial for Nancy that will take place at the ghost bike.