|(From left): Mitch and Marc Carp, brothers of Matt Carp, and Matt's father Bill spend a moment by the ghost bike left atop Domenigoni Parkway in memory of the fallen bicyclist.|
The reason for the gathering? To witness the placement of a ghost bike honoring Carp at the scene of the accident.
Members of the Inland Empire Bike Alliance carried on a tradition they hope will one day end -- placing a bicycle, painted all white, at the site of a cyclist's death. According to Mark Friis, executive direction of the IEBA, there were 22 deaths of bicyclists in the Inland Empire last year. According to BikinginLA.com, there have been 10 bicyclist deaths in Riverside County this year and 55 in California.
"Generally, we just come out when no one's around, place the bike and walk away," Friis said as he and a large crowd stood in the outside lane of eastbound Domenigoni, which was blocked off for the brief ceremony. "This one hit a chord. I can't believe the family came out for this after all they've been through."
Tragedy first stuck the Carp family when Matt Carp was struck by a black Acura that veered into the bike lane Wednesday afternoon, throwing Carp into the air and causing fatal head and internal injuries. Then, as they were meeting with a funeral director on Friday morning, family members got word that Matt's oldest son, 26-year-old Cameron, had been found dead, either of an accidental drug overdose or suicide.
Asked how the family is finding the strength to get through this, Marc Davis nodded to the crowd around him.
"The thoughts and prayers of people like this," he said. "For this many people to come out on a hot day in the wind at the top of a mountain to pay their respects ... that's how you get through it."
Matt's son Travis said his father coached him in youth baseball for years and was a wonderful family man.
"He was always there," Travis Carp said. "He taught me how to play baseball and was always my coach. Then when I grew up and got more into music, I kind of got away from baseball. That's when he got more into biking."
"This (biking) was his baby -- his girlfriend, I guess you could say," Paula Carp said. "He spent so much time riding, but I always supported him because I knew it was his passion."
Matt Carp had a goal of accomplishing 30 "centuries" -- 100-mile rides in one day -- this year and was approaching that goal. He always practiced bicycle safety, which is why his death and others like it are so hard to take for those who follow the sport.
"We offer our assistance to families and to cities to prevent this kind of tragedy," said Friis, who plans to attend a Menifee City Council meeting to plead that more safety precautions be taken. "We have a traffic engineer and planner who work for us. There are things you can do, such as 'separation by facilities' -- having a curb between the bike lane the traffic lanes."
Funeral arrangements for Matt and Cameron Carp have not been finalized. Services for Matt are tentatively planned for Friday, Aug. 1, but details are not yet available.
Efforts are being made to set up a fund and/or other forms of assistance for the family. When those are finalized, they will be posted on Menifee 24/7.
|Messages including "A cyclist was killed here" are left on the ghost bike in honor of Matt Carp.|
|Bicyclists joined family and friends in gathering at the spot of Matt Carp's death on Domenigoni Parkway.|
|Matt Carp's son Travis hugs his mother, Paula, at the site of the accident.|
|The City of Menifee closed off the outside lane of Domenigoni Parkway so those attending the ceremony could park and gather for the placement of the ghost bike.|