The South Mississippi cycling community went silent Saturday to make a loud statement. A month after cyclist Steve Chatters was killed while riding on Highway 63, his friends and family dedicated a memorial in his honor and participated in a ride of silence memorial ride.
The ghost bike is a stark reminder of a life lost. Chatters was killed on June 21 by a motorist in Jackson County.
His memorial was placed where he took his last ride. His brother, Robert Chatters, came from Virginia to be part of the memorial services.
“The ghost bike is a great idea,” Robert said. “I hope it stays where it is, and I hope people will see it. When they drive by, I hope they will realize that, yeah, there’s potentially bicycles on the same road.”
The ride of silence memorial ride was organized by Kristi Ducote.
“Cycling is a growing sport,” Ducote said. “It’s popular. People are not only doing it for fun and for recreation and for health and wellness, but they’re using it as a means of transportation. So, we do have to have that shift in the way that we think the roads are not just for motor vehicles.”
Cyclist Doug Heller says the accident is a reminder that bike lanes need to be part of every construction project, including Highway 63, but it’s not enough.
“Bike lanes are nice, but we have the right to ride on every road,” Heller said. “They need to make it safe for us to ride on every road.”
After the memorial was placed, the ride of silence began at Pascagoula's Beach Park. About 50 cyclists rode without talking along the five and a half mile route.
Leading the way was Chatters' mother, Shan Hale, of Michigan.
“It means a lot, because it just tells me a lot about Steve and his friends and things he’s interest in and being in the places he liked to go and doing things he liked to do,” Hale said. “It’s like being with him.”
Moss Point police are still investigating, and there have been no arrests reported in the case.
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