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200 cyclists come together to remember fallen rider

Saskatoon cyclists honour Natasha Fox with bike ride.

SASKATOON — Almost 200 cyclists, spanning all ages and from various parts of the city, gathered yesterday for the Natasha Fox Memorial Bike Ride. The event, organized on short notice by community members Shoshana Green and Jamie Kirkpatrick, aimed to commemorate Fox, who tragically lost her life last week in a fatal collision at Wiggins Avenue and College Drive intersection.

Green and Kirkpatrick quickly planned the event on Sunday, sharing the invitation on social media. The family of Natasha, a beloved kindergarten teacher at École St. Matthew within the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, has requested privacy as they mourn the loss of the 33-year-old mother of two. Fox had also previously taught at École Sister O’Brien and École St. Paul.

Green, who resided in Toronto until 2019, expressed deep sorrow over the heartbreaking tragedy that claimed Fox's life. She emphasized the daily risks cyclists like her face while navigating the city.

"Regrettably, this is not the first time our cycling community has suffered such an accident. During my time in Toronto, we lost cyclists every year. More than one cyclist per year when I was in Toronto. That is why I feel such grief for Natasha's accident. We wanted to create a tribute for Natasha and acknowledge the sudden loss of her life," Green shared with SASKTODAY before the commencement of the over three-kilometre bike ride.

Green added that motorists and cyclists must demonstrate mutual respect and share the road, as only some rely on cars or public transportation for commuting. While Saskatoon possesses bike lanes throughout the city, areas such as Churchill/Adelaide, where Green resides, could you take further attention?

"In my neighbourhood, transportation options are limited. To utilize bike lanes, I must first reach them using another mode of transportation. I do believe that more infrastructure, such as additional bike lanes, is needed for cyclists. To accomplish this, we must initiate conversations. Many individuals are eager to engage in these discussions, and I believe conversations contribute to the betterment of our communities,” said Green.

In March, the federal government allocated $2.6 million to enhance Saskatoon's pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The funds will be allocated towards constructing a pedestrian pathway and neighbourhood bikeway on Dudley Street, between Dawes Avenue and Spadina Crescent.

This type of development is precise what cyclists like Green hope city planners will prioritize, as bicycles serve as a primary mode of transportation for some individuals, particularly during non-winter months.

"There are experts in this field. Many individuals aspire to use their bikes for transportation, and we must ensure their safety when reaching their destinations. There are areas in the city that pose hazards to cyclists," said Green, who is unacquainted with Fox's family personally.

"I am merely a concerned community member, eager to raise awareness about cycling. Organizing this event is secondary to sharing the loss of a precious life and grieving together as a community."