Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Ride for Roger Event Raises Awareness for Cycling Safety

We can't believe it has almost been a year since we lost our beloved Roger.  We are so humbled that more than 20 cyclists will gather on October 6, 2011, to honor his legacy. Here is the press release to announce the event. We hope you will follow the blog and help us raise awareness for cycling safety by spreading the word to friends and family about Roger's story.

In a display of support, more than 20 cyclists will gather on October 6, 2011, to honor the legacy of Roger Grooters, an experienced cyclist and good samaritan tragically killed in last year by a motorist in Bay County, Fla. Living his humble life with gusto, Grooters, who was 66 at the time, was riding from San Diego, Calif. to Jacksonville Beach, Fla., to raise awareness and funds for victims of the 2010 BP oil spill when a distracted driver halted his journey approximately 300 miles from the end of his ride to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Realizing the significant need to increase awareness for Share the Road efforts in Florida, Grooters’ family and local cyclists from Pensacola have organized “We Ride for Roger” to bring the shocking statistics to light. The ride begins on the one-year anniversary of Grooters’ death – Oct. 6, 2011, at the scene of the accident just east of Ebro, Fla. on Highway 20. The ride will end on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011 in the same locale where Grooters planned to conclude his ride last year – with a tire dipping ceremony in the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Bob Graves, a fellow cyclist, heard of Grooters’ tragic story and it hit home hard. Graves reached out to Grooters’ wife, Vicki, hoping to organize a group of cyclists to finish Roger’s ride across America. Unbeknownst to him, several other cyclists had begun contacting Grooters’ family with the same idea. “As the plans began to develop to bring this vision to reality, we had so many riders interested that we had to limit the amount of participants to be able to easily manage the group along the route, “ said Graves. “Roger’s story is one that strikes deep at the heart of every single bicycle rider.” Graves continues, “cyclists are husbands, fathers, brothers, wives, mothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents, just like anyone driving a motor vehicle. If drivers take more responsibility behind the wheel, pay attention and allow the minimum legal passing distance of three feet, maybe just maybe, we can prevent more tragedies like Roger’s from happening.” 

Florida ranks first among states in cyclist fatalities, with 107 fatalities in 2009, followed by California with 99, Texas with 48 and New York with 29 – a shocking statistic from 2009 Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Facts.

“Roger was a humble and loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and Christian that felt called to help others during this crisis that affected our hometown of Gulf Breeze,” said Vicki Grooters, Roger’s wife. “His legacy continues as we gather together now to raise awareness and try to significantly lower the number of cyclist fatalities caused by distracted and aggressive drivers.”

Grooters was documenting his 21-day, 2100-mile journey on his blog - His death, however tragic, was not in vain. Grooters managed to raise over $12,000 through his church, Gulf Breeze United Methodist, to provide support to victims that had fallen on hard economic times due to the disaster. Friends, family, church members, acquaintances and even strangers donated most of the funds raised upon hearing of the accident. Grooters’ tire, which was one of the only parts of his Cervelo S2 bike that remained intact, will be used on Grooters’ training bike – a Trek Madone – to complete the ride and at the tire dipping ceremony in Jacksonville Beach.

To track the completion of Roger’s ride, please continue to follow Roger's blog 
and We Ride for Roger on Facebook

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