Do you know the current Georgia law for the amount of space you must give a cyclist if you want to pass him on the road? According to Caila Brown, executive director for Bike Walk Savannah, it’s three feet.
That distance isn’t much when you consider the amount of damage a vehicle can inflict on an unsuspecting cyclist. But for Matt Kohler, that required three feet of space would have saved his life.
The 7th annual Matt’s Moon River Cruise, sponsored by the Law Offices of Joe J. Steffen, Savannah Bike Law, will be held on June 15 from 2-6 p.m. at PERC Coffee Roasters, 1802 E. Broad Street.
A free, family-friendly bike ride begins at 1p.m.—you must have a helmet to ride. The ride is followed by a special event at PERC that requires a $10 ticket and includes coffee and snacks, food trucks, silent auction and a raffle.
Moon River Brewing Company will also be on site and they are bringing a special beer brewed in Matt’s honor. Bicycle valet is also available.
Brown said the event is named in memory of Matt Kohler who was hit from behind by a driver on July 26, 2012 while riding his bike on Hwy. 80 in Bloomingdale.
“He was married for about three months and had just graduated from Georgia Southern,” Brown said. “Matt’s widow Kori reached out to Moon River--they loved going there. And John Pinkerton offered to brew a beer in his honor, and then he took it a step further and helped create this event.”
Brown said Pinkerton worked closely with Kori and Matt’s mom Debbie in the planning and both ladies will be at the event this year.
Al the proceeds from this special event go to Bike Walk Savannah’s program to help educate the community on bike safety. The nonprofit is also working to redefine Savannah as a place for people no matter their mode of transportation. They seek a safe and connected city with spaces to bike and walk.
“We are making sure people are aware of three feet to pass law,” Brown explained. “Many times, we hear from people that are driving and are frustrated that they are stuck behind a cyclist. Part of our mission is educating those people about the laws and the mindset of people on bikes and people walking.
“When you are behind the wheel of a car, there is a tremendous responsibility. We want remind people of the privilege of having a car and being able to drive and to do it safely.
“And it’s like what Matt’s mom Debbie says, when someone loses a life in a bike accident, there is a domino effect. It's not just the people who remember the person who died, but everyone involved in that crash will be affected.”
Brown said they will also have a sign up for future education classes and bike rodeos.
“We hope to start a bicycle-friendly driving program to help motor vehicle drivers to understand laws, especially around our most vulnerable bike users.”