A fun focus on safety in Savannah

In July of 2012, 22-year newlywed Matt Kohler of Pooler, GA was killed when a driver struck him from behind. He left behind a bereft wife and mother, both of whom have since become outspoken champions for improved bicycle safety in Georgia.

Matt was a fan of Moon River Brewing Company, and John Pinkerton, co-owner and brewmaster of Moon River, was a big fan

of Matt’s. To raise awareness for bike safety, especially Georgia’s three feet safe passing law, Moon River partnered with Savannah Bicycle Campaign to host the 2nd annual Matt’s Moon River Cruise. We joined our Savannah colleagues for a daylong celebration of bicycling, starting with a bike safety press conference at Ellis Square. We spoke to television and print reporters on the need for motorist awareness, better enforcement of the 3′ law, and the importance of people on bikes knowing their rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers.

Following the press conference, SBC volunteers shared bike safety tips like the ABC Quick Check, and then we split into teams for a bicycle scavenger hunt throughout the city (search #mmrc on Instagram and Twitter for pics). One couple from Pennsylvania, who had never been to Savannah before, joined the ride and scavenger hunt because they thought it would be a fun, creative way to explore a new city. They weren’t disappointed!

Our ride through historic city streets and neighborhoods concluded at Moon River, where we joined a crowd of supporters enjoying bluegrass music and Moon River’s craft beer. We also heard a stirring plea from Matt’s mother for safer conditions for bicycling. 

Next time you are following or passing a person on a bike, remember that they are someone’s son or daughter, father or mother, friend or loved one. With a little common courtesy and careful, lawful driving, we can all get home to our friends and families.

Our sincere thanks to Savannah Bicycle Campaign, Moon River, and the Kohler family for hosting this event to raise money and awareness for safer cycling in Georgia.

Coverage of the event from Savannah Morning News.