YAKIMA, Wash. -- Dozens of bicycling enthusiasts gathered Saturday to honor one of their own, a Yakima man killed earlier this month.
After departing from Davis High School, the group of nearly 50 riders came together at the same intersection where Ron Knowlton, 60, was fatally struck by a car on Feb. 6. A 24-year-old suspect is accused of killing Knowlton and fleeing the scene near Sixth and Logan avenues.
Knowlton, a married father of three children with special needs, and his family lived nearby. His widow, Pam Knowlton, walked with a family friend from their home to attend Saturday’s brief ceremony.
The riders held a brief moment of silence before Robert Strader, a member of the Yakima Bikes and Walks group who helped organize the event, presented Pam Knowlton with a bouquet of flowers in her husband’s memory.
“Pam, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are a lot of people here,” Strader said.
“Thank you, everyone,” Knowlton said before receiving a series of hugs and condolences from several of the riders.
In a Facebook post, family friend Lisa Bailey thanked the bicyclists for attending the event.
“One of the most difficult things for Pam and the kids has been the fact they can see the site where Ron was killed from their front door, and the moment of silence and gathering of cyclists today at that intersection was healing in a way that I think most people would find difficult to understand,” Bailey wrote.
Ron Knowlton was a longtime custodian for the Yakima School District. He often rode to and from work and considered bicycling an uplifting experience that kept him from getting the blues, said Strader, who did not know Knowlton but had seen him as they both rode around town.
Jim Baker, another custodian for the school district, said he was familiar with Knowlton from work and decided to join the memorial ride because of the camaraderie common among cyclists.
Despite the circumstances of Knowlton’s death, Baker said he generally considers Yakima a safe place to ride.
“But there is a give and take, because we have to follow the rules just like cars do,” Baker said.
Josclyn Olivas of Yakima has been charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and hit-and-run in connection with Knowlton’s death.
Strader encouraged the riders to attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting to demonstrate that bicycling has support in Yakima.
He said the turnout for the memorial ride showed that others share Knowlton’s enthusiasm for cycling, even as they mourn his death.
“I think it was important to his family to see that other people recognize that and acknowledge it. That is why we did what we did,” Strader said.
• Information from Yakima Herald-Republic archives is included in this report.