Community reacts to Huntsville bicyclist death

Community reacts to Huntsville bicyclist death

(WAFF) - Julius Smith was homeless and rode his bike as a way of getting around Huntsville. Julius frequently made stops at Visible Hope, a faith based non-profit organization feeding the homeless events. He would always ask to help even though he was the one in need. He got the bike a few weeks before the tragic accident.

"Every time we would feed he would be one of the first one's out there and a lot of time he would let a lot of people go in front of him before he gets his plate," said Dell Mitchell, the founder of Visible Hope.

Mitchell met Smith a year ago and said he'll always remember his smile. "Because he was always a happy person even in the situation he was in being homeless, didn't have a place to live and didn't have things to eat he would always come to us smiling," Mitchell explained. He is still in shock that Julius has passed away.

"He was just there the day before we were serving him, we were talking to him, he was smiling like he always do and it's just heartbreaking he was just one of us, Mitchell said. We lost a great guy."
Tommy Reagh, co-owner of Trailhead Bicycle shop, sees his fair share of repairs after crashes involving vehicles. He also knows what it's like to get hit by a car.

"These people are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and a lot of them aren't just out there to be in your way they have a place to go and a job to get to," Reagh said.

Reagh wants drivers to think about the cyclists as being another vehicle on the road. They too have to follow traffic laws and as for his fellow cyclists he says peddle defensively. "Don't assume that someone sees you, just assume that they don't and make yourself seen, Reagh explained. Wear bright clothing flashing lights things like that and obey the traffic laws."

When Julius was hit, it was early in the morning and still dark out, so it is really important for riders to wear reflective gear.

When cars pass bicyclists, the law is to give them three feet. "They are probably very nervous that you are behind them in your multiple thousand pound vehicle, honking your horn doesn't help, it's very startling, and they are not out to ruin your day or just being in your way," Reagh added.

Since Julius was homeless, his family will need help laying him to rest. There is a GoFundMe page set up for Smith's family. If youd like to support feeding the homeless, click here.

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