– There is no way following that crash that I wan’t going to get back on my bike –
Damian Kevitt has become something of a folk hero to Los Angeles cyclists. Just last February, a driver struck him with his vehicle while Kevitt was bicycling to meet his wife for lunch. The driver drug Kevitt several hundred feet before vanishing onto the I-5.
Following the crash Kevitt lost the lower portion of his right leg and suffered a host of internal and external injuries. It was 11 weeks until he could sit up. But he’s come back in a big way. On April 27, he’s going to lead a bicycle ride, one of the three rides that are part of the Finish the Ride Event.
Despite having written about Kevitt’s crash and reform of “hit and run” laws being powered to wade through the political swamp by his personal story; I hadn’t talked to Kevitt until last week when he called me last week.
During the conversation, the relentlessly positive Kevitt was the first person to tell me that Asm. Mike Gatto was introducing new legislation to require a six month forfeiture for any hit and runner.
But we weren’t schedule to talk Gatto or policy, but about Finish the Ride.
Finish the Ride is Kevitt’s way of using his tragedy to help grow the movement for safer streets. Kevitt was on his way to the Autry when the crash occurred, and riders are literally going to start near where he was hit and “finish the ride.”
Proceeds from the event will go to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Can’t make the ride and want to help? One of Kevitt’s friends has setup a Go Fund Me page for direct donation.
There are three ride day options ranging from 6.5 to 23 miles. Bicycles will be available for rent. Because the ride ends at the Autrey Museum, there’s even a box to check to have your bike valeted for the day so you can hangout in Griffith Park, go to the zoo or the museum.
The ride is also going to generate a lot of publicity and good feelings. After all, even the most embittered car culture warrior is going to have their heart melt at Kevitt’s story…a story that’s already received major interest. Coverage of the crash, the aftermath, the Gatto legislation passed in Damian’s name last year, and the recovery has been heard or read by an estimated 30-40 million people. With nearly every major local outlet lining up to interview Kevitt before April 27, the ride could be even bigger media draw than the crash.
Kevitt is already working with Gatto and the Office of City Councilmember Tom LaBonge to make the ride something memorable. Last week, he also met directly with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.
Everyone wants to be seen with Kevitt. Why not? He’s a folk hero. And who wouldn’t want a chance to go for a ride with one of those?