Bikers ride to remember Hull

Hull’s family and friends have donated $1,000 to the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition for bike safety advocacy.

Cyclists participate in a memorial ride honoring Audrey Hull Wednesday evening on 15th Ave.  The route took riders from Van Cleve Park to Eddy Hall and back 25 times.

Mark Vancleave

Cyclists participate in a memorial ride honoring Audrey Hull Wednesday evening on 15th Ave. The route took riders from Van Cleve Park to Eddy Hall and back 25 times.

by John Hageman

Dozens of bicyclists turned out for a somber ride through Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota campus Wednesday night to remember the life of Audrey Hull, and promote safe bike riding.
Hull, a 25-year old University student who was set to graduate in two weeks, was struck and killed by a semi truck while riding her bike through the intersection of 4th Street and 15th Avenue Southeast on April 21.
HullâÄôs father, Harry Hull, spoke to the group of riders in Van Cleve Park before participating in the ride himself. He thanked those who helped organize the event, while asking bikers to be more cautious on the road.
âÄúFor those of you who knew Audrey and loved her, we really appreciate knowing how much sheâÄôs loved,âÄù an emotional Hull said before the group took a moment of silence. âÄúFor those of you who donâÄôt know Audrey and are here to ride in her memory, we want to thank you for that also.âÄù
Although he didnâÄôt know Hull, Kyle Torfin said the news of her death âÄújust cut me deep.âÄù He decided to organize the ride to honor her memory.
âÄúAs a dad with three daughters, I canâÄôt imagine what [HullâÄôs parents] felt,âÄù Torfin said. âÄúThis was not to say, but to show that, âÄòWeâÄôre with you.âÄôâÄù
The riders started off at Van Cleve Park and rode past the intersection where the collision took place, which is now decorated with her picture and flowers.
Katelyn Whitehead, a junior at the University and HullâÄôs co-worker, wore paper cat ears on her helmet and a sock stapled to the back of her sweatshirt for the ride to honor HullâÄôs love for cats.
She said the strong Minneapolis biking community brought the riders together Wednesday, whether they knew Hull or not.
âÄúShe was so excited when it was getting warm again so she could ride her bike,âÄù Whitehead said. âÄúItâÄôs tragic, and people donâÄôt want something like this to happen again.âÄù
Torfin posted the event on Facebook last week. But due to the overwhelming response, he was in need of volunteers to make sure the ride went smoothly.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, an organization made up of about 30 volunteers, along with Minneapolis and University police officers provided assistance to the riders.
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition board member Lisa Bender, said HullâÄôs death is a âÄúreminder of how much we have to do to make Minneapolis truly safe for bicycles.âÄù
Bender said about 15 of HullâÄôs family and friends have combined to donate $1,000 to MBC for bike safety advocacy.
âÄúWeâÄôre just starting out, so thatâÄôs huge for us,âÄù Bender said.
She added that family and friends also donated money to a cat rescue organization in HullâÄôs name âÄúbecause she liked cats.âÄù
Ethan Fawley, a volunteer with MBC, didnâÄôt know Hull personally, but was still affected by the crash.
âÄúI think people were moved by the unfortunate circumstances,âÄù Fawley said. âÄúAnd they wanted to do what they could to raise awareness.âÄù
Fawley said fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles and bicyclists have become a bigger problem in recent years.
He said he hopes the incident will âÄúfinally be the thing to push the police department and the city to find a solutionâÄù to fatalities like the one involving Hull.