Matt Carp Remembered for Love of Life, Passion for Cycling

It was perhaps one of the greatest ironies of his life that Matt Carp died while riding a bicycle ...

It was perhaps one of the greatest ironies of his life that Matt Carp died while riding a bicycle -- an activity where many say he felt so wonderfully alive.

Yet as difficult as it is to comprehend, the death of the Menifee resident when struck by a car July 23 might play a positive role in the awareness of motorists and cyclists alike about the urgent need to share the road safely. Carp certainly did his part. His friends say there was no greater example of a bicyclist who treasured the open road and at the same time preached safety rules to others.

Unfortunately, his fate was out of his control because of the action of a motorist.

"He was probably the safest rider I've ever ridden with," said John Handal, a good friend of Carp, who died when struck by a motorist on Domenigoni Parkway. "He got me into riding, and he taught me all about safety, how if you're in front, there's a certain way to point out obstacles to those behind ... he taught me never to ride outside the line of a bike lane, and he never did."

Saturday afternoon, members of the Inland Empire Bike Alliance placed at the scene of the accident a "ghost bike" -- a re-purposed bike, painted all white, placed as a memorial where a cyclist was killed. In addition, ghost bikes are intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road.

Carp's death has revived public outcry for more driver precautions when approaching bikes on the road. But whatever the result of that discussion, those closest to Carp say a few things are certain: He loved to ride, he loved sharing that passion with others, and he was kind to anyone he met.

"Matt was a fanatical cyclist," said his brother, Marc. "He had an incredible sense of humor -- a dry sense of humor. He was always happy.

"There's a quote from a movie that says, 'He treated people all the time the way others wish they would treat people half the time.' That was Matt."

Carp's wife, Paula, said Matt loved sharing his stories of biking adventures each time he got home. An avid cyclist who often rode a "century" -- 100 miles in one day -- he seemingly couldn't get enough of his favorite hobby.