© Submitted photo
A special bike ride organized by members of Cycling P.E.I. and Triathlon P.E.I. took place Sunday evening following the death of a 63-year-old Alberta cyclist and tourist killed approximately 24 hours earlier on Rennies Road by an impaired driver.
She wasn't from here and they didn't know her, but some Island cyclists wanted to hold a memorial ride for the woman killed by an alleged drunk driver Saturday night.
About a dozen of them did just that Sunday night to honour 63-year-old Elizabeth Ann Sovis of Edmonton, who died after a van hit her while she was riding her bike on Rennies Road.
Kris Taylor, who is involved in both Cycling P.E.I. and Triathlon P.E.I., helped organize the ride and said there wasn't a lot of mourning in the community because no one knew Sovis.
"We just needed to mourn her as a cyclist, as one of us and show respect," he said.
RCMP arrested a man who has been charged with impaired driving causing death.
Clarence Arnold Moase, 49, of Kensington was remanded into custody until July 23 when he will appear in court to face an impaired driving causing death charge.
Sovis's death was the second on the Island in the last year.
Raymond Alfred Cantelo of Strathcona is scheduled to go to trial in December after he pleaded not guilty to several charges including impaired driving causing death in a crash that killed a woman in Peakes in October. She was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle.
Taylor said the cyclists wanted to show support for Sovis's family and raise awareness of some of the issues involved in the crash.
And "be a voice for cyclists on P.E.I.," he said.
The cyclists who took part in the ride pedaled about six kilometres up Rennies Road and had a moment of silence for Sovis.
Taylor is no stranger to the area where Sovis died and said he lives about 3 km from where the van hit her.
He said he's ridden on Rennies Road thousands of times, trained on it and taken teams he coached along it.
"It just really hit home, the whole incident," he said.
When it came to the memorial ride, Taylor said the biggest issue he wanted to draw attention to was drunk driving.
"Personally I think this issue is just too prevalent in our society today."
Taylor said too many people are bystanders who turn a blind eye to people they know drive drunk and it's time for people to start reporting them.
"It's just such a needless way to die is to be killed by a drunk driver," he said.
As an association, Cycling P.E.I. tries to promote cycling safety and while Taylor said the mentality toward cyclists is generally good, some drivers view them as a nuisance.
"It needs to change," he said.
Taylor said some Islands roads don't have shoulders and cyclists have to navigate them, but they aren't unsafe if drivers take the appropriate care.
"It's got to come from the travelling public," he said.
P.E.I. has a lot of trails for cyclists, Taylor said, but the weekend death was a black mark for the province when it comes to cyclists who might want to visit the Island.
"It wouldn't do anything to better our reputation."