Riding to Remember Andrew Gast

Andrew Gast died on August 28, 2012 after an automobile crashed into him while he was riding his bike. He was 27 years old with his whole life ahead of him. I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing him. He was an intelligent, genuine man with a generous heart and was a lot of fun to be around. In this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with his family – as are the thoughts and prayers of countless others who were touched by his life and tragic death.

Andrew Gast

Andrew lived in Over-the-Rhine. Before he moved to OTR, a friend showed him around the neighborhood. After stops at Neons and MOTR, Andrew said “I want to live here” and that’s when he moved into a loft on Main Street. His father, Richard Gast, has stated: “He enjoyed downtown life and walked to work. He’d go out and ride 30 to 40 miles. He was doing a lot of biking.” Andrew was an avid cyclist and had just purchased a new $2,800 bike. He recently helped a female friend buy her first bike and was teaching her how to ride.

Andrew Gast’s bike in his OTR loft – notice the Kroger headquarters sign out the window

Shortly after 6am on the morning of Tuesday, August 28, Andrew was struck by an automobile from behind on Wilmer Avenue near Lunken Airport. He was wearing his cycling gear and his bike was outfitted with reflectors and lights. Even though he was wearing a helmet, he suffered a severe head injury and was knocked unconscious. He was rushed to University Hospital where he passed away.

Andrew Gast bike accident – photo via Steve Magas

Andrew Gast bike accident – photo via Steve Magas

The site of the crash is a well-known pinch-point by the many cyclists who use the heavily traveled bike route. An adjacent bike/hike path is in poor condition for bike commuters, and automobile drivers in the area are known to travel too fast. Andrew’s family has urged people to be careful and watch out for bikers.

The Cincinnati Cycle Club organized a memorial ride for Andrew on the day of the crash. A group of 50 cyclists rode to the site where they said a few words and had a moment of silence. The group then rode downtown to Over-the-Rhine by Andrew’s home to symbolically finish his ride.

Cincinnati Cycle Club meets before the Andrew Gast memorial ride, photo via Steve Magas

A moment of silence during the Andrew Gast memorial ride, photo via Danny Korman

Bike community rides to remember bicyclist killed in crash” via Local 12:

Club honors fallen cyclist” via Channel 9:

Andrew’s tragic death has galvanized Cincinnati’s burgeoning cycling community to action. Queen City Bike, the Cincinnati Cycle Club, MoBo Bicycle Coop, Urban Basin Bicycle Club, as well as bike shops like Reser Bicycle Outfitters, have joined together to honor Andrew’s memory and do all that they can to avoid another tragedy such as what happened Tuesday, August 28.

Tonight’s Full Moon BRIGHT Ride will be held in Andrew’s memory and will stop for a moment of silence near his home on Main Street in OTR. A map of the ride can be found here. The ride is sure to be a big one. Over-the-Rhine will be busy with Final Friday activities as well as a concert at Washington Park and the Night Owl Market. A BRIGHT ride is a special ride in which riders cover their bikes and themselves in bright things like glow bands and Christmas lights. Here’s a video from the last BRIGHT ride:

Volunteers from the MoBo Bicycle Cooperative came together to create a “ghost bike” to stand vigil over the scene of Tuesday’s crash.

A ghost bike memorial, image via NPR

With donations from Reser Bicycle Outfitters Over-the-Rhine location, the ghost bike is already painted and should be ready to be placed at the site next Tuesday, September 4 as part of the Ghost Bike Ceremony and Ride for Andrew Gast. GhostBikes Cincinnati was formed this week to organize and commemorate the ghost bike memorials in Cincinnati. Here are a couple photos of the MoBo Bicycle Coop volunteers preparing the ghost bike:

Although none of us can bring Andrew back or undo the horrific events of that day, we can honor his memory and endeavor to make the roads safe for everyone. If Andrew were here, that’s what he would want us to do and he would want us to have fun while we did it.

RIP

 

Comments
5 Responses to “Riding to Remember Andrew Gast”
  1. John Chester says:

    Steve Magas provided me the two photos. He should receive the photo credit.
    JC

  2. Charmaine says:

    I really hope that they do something about the cars that speed so fast on that road. I work off of the road, and when I turn left I have to wait for the oncoming traffic, and nearly 80% of the time, the cars behind me speed by me on the right of my car, which is exactly where this accideent too place.

  3. Steve Magas says:

    excellent posting – I got a buzz early that there had been a bad crash near Lunken – and then a f/up indicating that the rider had died… I live close and grabbed my camera bag, stuck it on the big bike and rode down. The shots posted were from behind the police tape – later in the day I went back and shot photos of the other markings on the road, trying to figure out what had happened… I have and ongoing research project which involves reviewing the details of EVERY fatal bike crash in Ohio… [having handled 300+ bike cases, and many wrongful death cases, i think I am competent to review these crashes, and the manner in which the police handle them].

    I will be posting extensively on this crash on my blog at www.OhioBikeLawyer.com… – I am finishing up the first post now. This crash hits very close to home – literally. I, like many riders in Cincinnati, have ridden that exact route many many times. On Friday August 24 I settled a case for a client who was riding to the right of the white line in broad daylight and was struck by a motorist who “had no idea” why he had drifted off the road… she lived, but has a permanent plate in her clavicle. Her crash was in almost the exact spot of Andrew’s crash.

    Fortunately, in the big picture, these things are very rare and cycling is very safe in Cincinnati, and Ohio. This is the first fatal crash since 2008 or 2007, I believe. However, for Mr. Gast’s family and friends, THIS is the only one that matters… You are in our thoughts and prayers…
    Steve Magas

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  1. […] A friend wrote that Mr.Gast loved his OTR loft and the urban lifestyle he had chosen.  He was an avid cyclist, purchasing a high end Specialized carbon road bike. He had helped a young woman purchase HER first bike and was teaching her how to ride. I met this grief-stricken young lady at the crash site on Tuesday – she had been physically sick all day and had come to the scene, as we did, to honor Mr. Gast and try to make sense of a senseless loss. […]



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