Nothing gets Mayor Greg Ballard’s attention like a cycling event. Toward the end of the lunch hour today, Ballard stopped by the Circle to chat with Indiana police officers promoting a 1,000-mile fundraising ride that starts on Monday. The ride, Cops Cycling for Indiana, lasts 13 days and circumnavigates the state. Proceeds benefit the Indiana chapter of Concerns for Police Survivors, a support system for survivors of officers killed in the line of duty.
The ride took on new meaning in 2006, when two participants died near Terre Haute in an accident involving a box truck. Lieutenant Gary Dudley with the Indiana State Police and retired Lake County Sheriff Department deputy chief Gary Martin were part of a group riding on State Road 63 when the truck hit the cyclists’ support vehicle, which was trailing the riders. While most of the cyclists escaped injury, the vehicle collided with Dudley and Martin.
The officers riding stationary trainer bikes in front of the WIBC studio today to promote the event were carrying on a tradition started by Dudley, who used to organize the ride. “When Gary was alive, he would be here by himself for 24 hours,” says Indiana state trooper Rich Crawford, who took over Dudley’s duties. “He’d put a jar in front of his bike and raise a couple of hundred dollars during the night.”
Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Star found that more than 1,000 collisions involving cyclists and motorists, resulting in 14 deaths, were reported in Indiana between March 2010 and February 2011.