BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After a cyclist was hit and killed in an accident Friday, Redemptive Cycles placed a ghost bike memorial at the intersection in his honor.
The cyclist who was killed has been identified as Franklin Bradford Prude. Authorities suspect he was homeless, but are not certain.
Friday evening around 7:15, the cyclist was hit and killed by an 18-wheeler that was trying to make a turn at the intersection of 24th Street North and 3rd Ave North. The truck driver remained on the scene and is cooperating with the investigation, according to authorities.
Redemptive Cycles is a non-profit bicycle shop in the downtown Birmingham area. They believe the cyclist could have been one of their clients in the last couple of years.
“We serve over 700 sliding scale repair clients a year so it’s possible that we have served him in this past year or the year before,” Kathryn Doornbos, the executive director at Redemptive Cycles, said.
One of their primary charitable programs Redemptive Cycles offers is “Earn a Bike.” The program allows low-income and homeless clients to complete 12 hours of community service in exchange for a refurbished bicycle, safety gear and repair credit in the shop.
The fatal accident hit home for many of the employees at Redemptive Cycles.
“We really saw ourselves in this person that was hit and I think that’s what touched us about the circumstances of it,” Doornbos said.
In Alabama, bicycles are considered a vehicle on the road. Alabama requires that all vehicles are overtaken and passed at a safe distance. For the purposes of a vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle, a safe distance shall mean not less than three feet on any of the following.
“I think for cyclists and any vulnerable user on the road, which means a pedestrian, a runner, someone with a baby carriage – it’s just really important that you understand your surroundings fully,” Doornbos said.
The shop also makes repairs for lower-income clients on a sliding scale payment option.
“Sliding scale repairs allows people to access essential repairs and maintenance on their bikes for on a pay what they can scale,” Doornbos said.
The client identifies what they can afford, Redemptive Cycles gets the repairs done and meets the client in the middle for the price.
Redemptive Cycles also has a public work station open to the public. Anyone can come in and use their tools to do DIY repairs on their bike in the work area. And the shop offers a mechanics education program that teaches weekly beginner mechanics classes.
In addition, they host a community ride every Thursday night at 6:30 meeting behind the shop. They visit all the neighborhoods in Birmingham. The community ride has been going on for five and a half years, rain or shine, and they have never missed a Thursday.