ST. PETERSBURG — Bicyclists dying on local streets is an all too common tragedy, but the recent death of Anne McLaughlin was all the more painful because she was struck and killed along a stretch of roadway that had been reworked for safer pedaling.
On Saturday morning, St. Pete Bike Co-op organized a memorial ride for the 25-year-old McLaughlin past the 2800 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, where she was killed Sept. 19 while crossing at a flashing beacon.
The ride also memorialized all cyclists and pedestrians who have become casualties of the street.
The ride began in downtown St. Petersburg with a moment of silence. Participants were encouraged to wear wear helmets and white clothing, use bike lanes, stop at lights, and keep a slow pace.
T-shirts delivered messages central to the Co-op’s drive to stop bicycle deaths: “Slow down, save a life,” and, “Don’t run me over.”
Brian Doughty Jr., 34, was driving the white Chevrolet that hit McLaughlin, St. Petersburg police said. Doughty stopped after the collision and has cooperated with the investigation. A crash report still is being finalized, police said.
The city of St. Petersburg spent close to a $1 million to resurface Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street between 4th and 30th avenues last year.
The project included adding extra-wide bike lanes on both sides of the road, along with a painted buffer separating them from traffic.
The city also installed new crosswalks with flashing beacons along the same stretch.
McLaughlin was hit and killed while riding in one of those crosswalks, near Rollin’ Oats market in 2800 block of North King Street.
McLaughlin was the 10th bicyclist to die in St. Petersburg since 2011, according to city data.
This was the first fatality on King Street during that time, and the first to occur in a crosswalk.
Only one of the 10 bicyclists who died was using a bike lane. That collision involved a drunk driver.
Correction: Brian Doughty Jr. is 44. An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect age.