The Five Cyclists Killed Near Las Vegas Will Be Honored With a Virtual Memorial Bike Ride

Andrew Dawson
·4 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy of Save Red Rock
Photo credit: Courtesy of Save Red Rock

From Bicycling

  • A virtual memorial ride is being held on Saturday, December 19 to remember the five cyclists who were killed by a truck driver outside of Las Vegas.

  • Michael Anderson, a former Las Vegas police officer who was on the group ride when the crash occurred, is organizing the ride. You can register for the free event, hosted by Zwift, here.

  • Additionally, the Las Vegas Cyclist Memorial Fund was established for the victims’ families, and you can donate to that here.

A memorial ride is set to take place virtually on Saturday, December 19 to honor the lives of five cyclists who were killed by a truck driver while on a group ride outside of Las Vegas.

On December 10, a group of about 16 cyclists was on an annual 130-mile ride they called the Nipton Loop. This year’s ride was organized to help celebrate a recent retirement and a birthday of two of the cyclists. It attracted the largest group in its 15 years of existence.

About 40 miles in, on a highway near Searchlight, Nevada, a person driving a box truck reportedly went off the road, swerved back on, hit the cyclists who were behind a support vehicle, and hit the support vehicle.

Five of the riders—Aksoy Ahmet, 48, Michael Murray, 57, Gerrard Nieva, 41, Erin Ray, 39, and Tom Trauger, 57—were pronounced dead at the scene. Four others, including the driver of the support vehicle, sustained injuries.

The driver of the truck was found to have methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was charged with five counts of DUI resulting in death, six counts of reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm, and one count of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm.

Michael Anderson, a former Las Vegas Metro police officer who was on the group ride when the incident occurred, is now organizing a 100K virtual group ride for the friends he lost. The Nipton Loop Cyclists Memorial Ride starts at 7 a.m. PT on December 19 and will be hosted on Zwift. Anyone interested can register for the free event here.

The hope is to raise $100,000 to help the families of the victims—as of publish, more than $97,000 has been donated. You can contribute to the GoFundMe here.

“I’m leading the ride [on Saturday], and we’re gonna cry, we’re gonna laugh, and we’re gonna share stories. That is my hope,” Anderson told Bicycling. “We have people committed from all over the world so far. I even know some Australian cyclists who told me they were going to stay up until 1 a.m. to do it because it affected them so much.”

Anderson added that anyone interested in doing the ride and does not have Zwift is encouraged to get out and ride this weekend on their own in solidarity.

“I hope this never happens in your community, no matter what city, state, or country you live in,” he said. “I hope you don’t ever have to go through this in your lifetime. I was a cop for almost 22 years. I’ve seen stuff. I was able to operate. But when my friends are in the middle of the highway, torn to bits and shredded, I felt so helpless. I felt like I couldn’t do a damn thing. I hope no one has to go though that, but I ask that we not stop cycling. I ask that we get back on the bike again and continue to be supportive.”

Anderson and the local cycling community have received messages from all over the world. They even received a touching story about a young daughter of a cyclist who wanted to donate the $3 in her piggy bank to the GoFundMe fundraiser because she wanted to help.

There have been a few other organized events and fundraisers set up by local cycling groups in the wake of this tragedy. A vigil was held on Saturday, December 12, and the Las Vegas Cyclist Memorial Fund was also established for the families (you can donate to that here).

Donations have come in from all over so far, including a $20,000 personal contribution from Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of people in Las Vegas and cycling,” Heather Fisher—the president of Save Red Rock, which helped set up the memorial fund—said in a press release sent to Bicycling. “While we grieve this unthinkable loss and work to support the families of our friends, we realize that how Nevada responds to this tragedy will have significant impact. Our residents deserve peace of mind while cycling. Economically, outdoor recreation tourism is Nevada’s future. Electric bikes are blowing up the market because they make cycling accessible to more people, so Nevada must cultivate safe outdoor recreation experiences for residents and visitors. Our state must be exemplary in leadership for safe cycling.”

Additionally, Lamar Advertising, a local advertising agency, has donated 68 digital billboards to direct people to donate to the memorial fund, including billboards at Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders played the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football on December 17.

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