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Ghost Bike Memorial to Honor Cyclist Killed in Hit and Run

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The cycling community is grieving the loss of 56-year-old Darrel Ford, who police say rode through the intersection of Martin Luther King Parkway and Woodland Avenue on a red light and was hit by a red SUV that left the scene.

Many cyclists choose to avoid the main roads because of this possibility.

“I have gone to trails now because the roads are a little less friendly. I have been hit. I’ve had people hit me with their hands out their window. I’ve had trucks run me off the road into the ditch on the highway. So now it’s just a little bit easier to stay on the trails,” said cyclist Matt Smith.

Smith said a lot of times these crashes happen due to distracted driving.

"I think they are looking at their phones. I think that's the main thing," he said. "Plus, I don’t think people really are that friendly as they were 20 years ago. I think they just looked out more for folks on bikes back then."

Ghost Bike Central Iowa will be installing a white bike memorial at the MLK and Woodland Avenue intersection to honor Ford.

“It evokes a lot of emotion, sadness, anger, all of that. So this is going to be in a prominent place, and I just want it to be something that is a good reminder. Something that says a cyclist gave their life there,"said Pam Bell, founder of Ghost Bike Central Iowa. "Whether or not it was in the wrong, who was passing through a stop sign or whatever the case was, that’s irrelevant, a cyclist lost their life there."

Bell said she hopes this memorial will promote safety for all

“We need to be safe at all times. Awareness is key. We are not supposed to be banished to trails, but we need to be safe."

Police are still searching for the driver who left the scene. Anyone with information is asked to call 515-271-4650.