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 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.
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.
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.
“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:
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.