Annual ‘Ride for Safety’ bike ride fights distracting driving


CHESNEE, S.C. (WSPA) – Early Thursday morning, nearly 100 bike riders rode in honor of Josh Duncan, Jeff Pierce, and Dale Willenberg in the annual Ride for Safety bike ride at Lake Blalock Park.

The 2019 Ride for Safety theme was “Be Seen”. Cyclist wore bright neon colors and flashing lights on their bikes.

The bike ride is hosted annually by the Spartanburg Freewheelers Safety Committee, they develop initiatives aimed at making cycling safer.

The 8:30 a.m. 4th of July bike ride helped raise money that supports the safety committee with their initiatives while bringing awareness to safety for all on the roads.

Kelly Willenberg said that’s still not enough to protect bikers from distracted drivers. Noting, drivers are more distracted today than ever, because of mobile devices.

Willenberg lost her husband, Dale, in a distracted driving accident about 2 years ago.

“He was riding home from work on a regular day. It was not raining, not cloudy, and a person looked down at their cellphone. Dale ended up brain dead in the hospital,” Willenberg said.

Rene Pierce also lost her husband, Jeff, to a distracted driver. She said drivers must pay attention to the roads and not their phones.

“A lady on a cell phone decided, made the choice for us that [Jeff] would no longer be with us. So, I am very active and this is very important to me. So, that people will be aware of the safety that we as bike riders, and my son rides now, we as bike riders take very seriously,” Pierce said.

Cyclist had the option of riding more than 20 miles or 40 miles. Pierce and Willenberg said they appreciate all the bikers efforts in their fight for safer roads.

For more information about the Ride for Safety and Spartanburg Freewheelers Safety Committee, click here.

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