The city of Newport Beach is in the midst of creating a fundraising memorial ride to pay tribute to two women who were killed while cycling in Newport Beach, according to an announcement made at Tuesday's Newport Bech City Council Meeting.
The ride will be held on Oct. 30 at 8 a.m. in memory of Catherine "Kit" Campion-Ritz and Sarah Leaf, according to Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle. The ride’s location will be announced in the coming weeks and a Facebook page and web site will also be launched. The city says the memorial ride will also be used to raise money to fund bicycle safety improvements.
“Central to cycling advocacy and activism is creating awareness that we are on the road and this is done through signage and markings," Daigle said.
“A few things have come up that we will be implementing almost immediately,” Mayor Nancy Gardner, who also heads up the Newport Beach bike safety committee, added. “We hope to have sharrows in by the end of October, there will be a series of columns in the Daily Pilot on bicycle safety and our recreational department has been talking with licensed bike safety instructors to work bike safety classes into out recreational programs.”
Leaf, 29, worked as a nutritionist in Corona del Mar. She was killed in a bicycle collision on the morning of Friday, Sept. 14 when she was cycling on Pacific Coast Highway and the driver of a stake bed truck turned right onto Bayside Drive. No arrests or citations have been made as a result of Leaf's death.
Campion, a doctor who treated patients in Newport Beach for close to 30 years, was killed during a fatal hit-and-run on Saturday, Sept. 15 as she cycled on Newport Coast Drive with her husband. Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim, was arrested three days after Campion died. If convicted, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison for the deadly hit-and-run crash.
Frank Peters, a resident who also sits on the bike safety committee, told the council he is thankful some improvements are already in the works and donated $10,000 to the bike safety fund.
“I applaud you for moving sharrows up to early implementation,” Peters said.
Resident John Christiansen also addressed the council and said the issue of cycling safety needs to be a priority.
“It’s easy to dismiss cyclists and say they are a problem and wish they would go away," Christiansen said. "But there are thousands of cyclists who flock to Newport Beach. On behalf of the 150 people who showed up at the last Newport bike safety committee, I am imploring the city to make this a priority.”
Peters encouraged the community to attend the next bike safety committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 1 and weigh in on the various proposed bike safety measures.
Speak Up Newport announced it will be holding a presentation on “Cycling in Newport Beach and What You Need to Know” on Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Newport Beach Yacht Club.