JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition took to the streets Saturday morning to remember a local cyclist who was struck and killed by a vehicle Wednesday evening.
At least 125 people participated in the Ride of Silence to honor 42-year-old Jason McDonald.
Cyclists left from Gearhead Outfitters downtown and rode down KAIT Road past a ghost bike, which was set up as a memorial where McDonald was killed.
Sara Davis was one of those riders and said she hopes that this event raises awareness in the community about cyclists safety.
"It could be a safe ride for everybody if everybody could just work together as far as just being aware and paying attention to other people on the road and just having that respect," Davis said.
McDonald left behind a wife and two small children. Now his loved ones mourn the loss of who they say was a great man and a friend to many.
"I was with a friend of mine when I got a call to make sure it wasn't me," said Jeff Chastain, a cyclist who participated in the event.
"It was almost the universal reaction," said Bill Smith, board director of the NEA Bicycle Coalition. "First was, oh my God, was it my loved one. Then it was oh my God, it was one of us."
Cyclists from all over Northeast Arkansas were devastated by the news.
"It could have been anyone of us out there," Davis said. "We all out there riding those roads and that could have been my family member. That could have been anybody's out here family member so, it just touches you emotionally because you never know if it could be you next."
During the Ride of Silence, several took time to honor and remember a man who was not only a part of a cycling community, but a cycling family as well.
"Here's a father, a son, a friend who died, because he was doing what he loved to do," Smith said.
With their heads held high, and their feet on the peddles, family and friends rode down the same road McDonald took his final ride on to pay their respects and to show the community what unity truly means.
"I'm so proud to hear everyone has focused on Jason's family to see how we can help," Chastain said. "He was one of our own. We love him and by extension we love them."
The community is now selling T-shirts in honor of McDonald and a GoFundMe account has been set up to help his family in a time of heartache and pain.
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