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Bicyle ride to honor late cyclist

Posted: September 17, 2010 11:41 a.m.
Updated: September 17, 2010 11:19 a.m.
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Local cyclist Ralph Nugent was killed by a motorist while riding in Lee County. A memorial ride in his honor will be held Oct. 2 to urge drivers to "share the road."

Eighteen months ago, Eat Smart Move More (ESSM) of Kershaw County decided to place “Share the Road” signs on Kershaw County roads in an effort to raise motorist awareness of cyclists. Local cyclist Ralph Nugent played an active role in the efforts by helping to identify dangerous areas where he felt signs were needed.

But when Nugent was killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle in Lee County several months ago, members of his local cycling club decided they needed to continue to raise motorist awareness by holding a memorial bike ride in his honor.
“Ralph was killed on Memorial Day morning. He had his safety gear and did everything that he was supposed to do,” said Pam Spivey, a friend of Nugent’s and project coordinator of the Ralph Nugent Memorial Ride. “We just want to keep promoting motorist awareness by having a slow awareness ride on Oct. 2. This is such a great cause.”

Spivey said that although the local bicycle group came up with the concept for the memorial ride, it immediately partnered with other local bike groups, ESSM of Kershaw County and the United Way of Kershaw County to turn its concept into a reality.

“All of the pieces of the puzzle just fell together because it all works together. Health is one of our four priority issues here at United Way and we are an actively involved member of Eat Smart Move More Kershaw County and Eat Smart Move More of South Carolina,” said Spivey, who also works at United Way and is involved with ESMM. “Our goal is to improve health by encouraging access to healthy foods and improved nutrition, and to encourage our citizens to be more physically active. The awareness ride will help to ensure our citizens are safe while doing so.”

The memorial bike ride will kick off with a ceremony at INVISTA, which had given the local group permission to put up Share the Road and “In Memory of Ralph Nugent” signs on its property.

During the 13-mile memorial bicycle ride, Spivey said, each cyclist will wear a “Share the Road” sign and an “In Memory of Ralph Nugent” sign.

“We just want to be visible and the route is right through Camden,” Spivey said, adding that the group will have police protection during the hour-and-a-half bike ride. “(Camden Police) Chief Joe Floyd said that this is one of the most worthwhile causes that they could spend money on ... and when he said that, it really meant a lot to us.”

A common misconception about many cyclists is that they ride recklessly, but Spivey said that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We are very careful about the roads we choose, we use flashing safety lights and pick roads with as little traffic as possible. And we ride in groups,” Spivey said. “That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness about this ... because although most people are cautious and considerate ... some are just not aware when they’re driving. We want to change that. This is a really great cause.”

The memorial ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 at INVISTA and the bicycle ride will begin at 9:30 a.m.

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