Memorial bike ride calls for changes to Montgomery County intersection

A memorial rally was held in Maryland on Sunday for a local leader who was killed after being struck by a car.

A white bike with the name “Larry Willis” on it now stands outside of the MacArthur Boulevard entrance to Great Falls Park in Maryland. Willis was injured and later died after a November crash involving a motor vehicle and bicycle.

He was the president of the Transportation Trade Department, AFL-CIO.

“He died at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, and was going around a blind curve,” said Peter Gray, board vice president of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

His organization held a 10-mile bike ride from the Bethesda Metro Station to the scene of the incident to bring awareness, place a ghost bike in his honor and call for safety changes.

“The idea of the ghost bike is to have a physical tangible representation of the person who died and to make it so that people who are going by that area are alerted to this idea that somebody died unnecessarily,” Gray said.

Close to a dozen bikers rode to the scene of the fatal accident. Gray said it was an incident that could possibly be prevented in the future.

“It appears that he didn’t anticipate that there would be such a long line of cars waiting to get into Great Falls Park. And it was backed up all the way up to the other side of the curve. And so he swerved to avoid those cars that were waiting. And unfortunately, another car was coming in the opposite direction and hit him and killed him,” Gray said.

His organization would like to see mirrors and signage placed in the area to warn cyclists and drivers.

“The road authorities need to be pressured to change the way the road is so that it won’t happen in the future.”

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