One year after her death, friends plan memorial event for Kathryn Rickson

One year after her death, friends plan memorial event for Kathryn Rickson

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-26

Ryan Gaughan at Rickson’s ghost
bike on May 18th, 2012.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This coming Thursday will mark one year since the tragic death of 28 year-old Kathryn Rickson. On the night of May 16th, Rickson was riding downhill on SW Madison Ave just one block from City Hall when a man driving a large delivery truck turned right onto SW 3rd and the two vehicles collided.

Now Rickson’s friends and family have planned a memorial event to remember her. I asked Ryan to share a few thoughts about Kathryn, the collision, and this past year…

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-11

“12 months ago my friend, lover, and partner, Kathryn Rickson, was killed by a delivery truck while riding her bike in downtown Portland. The fact that this accident happened at all is unbearable, but particularly devastating given that she was killed while riding in a bike lane, through a “green box” intersection, at a high traffic bicycle street (SW 3rd & Madison).*

Since that time, the range of emotions for me and Kathryn’s family have shifted between trying to accept her loss, while coping with anger at the fact that such an accident was even possible. Kathryn was an exceedingly conscientious and safe bike rider, and was commuting home from a class at PSU at the time she was killed. I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to her; she was quite simply plucked from life in a moment.

Kathryn was also a co-parent to my daughter, Madeline. My daughter and I are doing our best to continue with life in Kathryn’s absence. If anything, we have both learned that loving each other, and other people, to the best of our ability is absolutely crucial in this healing process. Words, of course, can not begin to express how deeply appreciative we are of our friends, family, and the Portland bicycling community who have supported us in innumerable ways.

We invite everyone in Portland who is concerned with bicycle safety to attend Kathryn’s memorial this upcoming Thursday, May 16, at 6:00pm, at the intersection where the accident occurred at SW 3rd and Madison, in downtown Portland. We hope that this will be an opportunity for us to all share a moment of silence and reflection on Kathryn’s life, to mourn for her death and the untimely death of all bicyclists killed by automobiles, and to honor the relationship we have with our loved ones.”

[*Note: The DA found no criminal negligence on the part of the truck operator and the Bureau of Transportation released a report about bike box effectiveness which cited high bicycle speeds as one behavior that contributes to right-hook collisions.]

The Kathryn Rickson Memorial will be at 6:00 pm this Thursday (5/16) at the north end of Terry Schrunk Plaza (at 3rd and Madison). Also remember that this Wednesday is the Portland Ride of Silence, which will remember those who have lost their lives while cycling.

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