Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

July 12, 2013

Cyclists: Tragedy has changed Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY — Bicyclists somberly rode in and parked their bikes at Kelly Ann Boyce’s funeral at F&M Park.

Sam Zubalic, 20, now rides with more caution. She has taken to riding the sidewalk for safety reasons and thinks others are doing the same. Drivers, in turn, appear more respectful.

“On my way here, I was at a four-way stop on Eighth Street and all the drivers motioned me to go through,” she said.

Riders said they’ve already seen a change in Traverse City since the early July 5 death of Boyce, a free-spirited 29-year-old who was struck and killed by the driver of a dark SUV or pickup truck as she bicycled to her Washington Street home.

Courtney Saxon, who rides her bike daily from a neighborhood near West Junior High to her job at Xylo Bistro Cafe, said the town seems less hectic, in no small part because the National Cherry Festival is over.

“Drivers in different states, they just don’t realize it’s very different here, with all the people biking and walking around,” she said.

Biology teacher Tom Czarny said he will still ride at night, but added he bought blinkers and a headlight for his bike shortly after learning of Boyce’s death.

“This has made me a lot more aware of our fragility,” he said. “I always thought people would respect the space we need. I’m not that sanguine anymore. It’s gotten to the point I just don’t want to ride on the roads anymore.”

Czarny said he rides almost exclusively on bike trails because he doesn’t want to put his life in the hands of distracted drivers.

Sierra Porter, 23, said she doesn’t own a car and gets into town on the TART trail on her Schwinn bike.

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