• Sun June 24 2007
  • Posted Jun 24, 2007
ATLANTIC - Des Moines attorney Kim West planned to ride his bicycle to Atlantic and back today. He's not training for a road race. He's attending a funeral. David Harris, 39, of Atlantic, is being buried at 1:30 p.m. West didn't know him, but both rode bikes. Harris was killed while riding his Sunday afternoon near Atlantic. "Over a seven- to eight-year period I had seven or eight friends die riding bikes," West said. "Only one driver did any jail time, and that's because it was his third OWI. It galls me." West said his main reason for making the trip is to honor a fellow cyclist. But he also wants to raise awareness about the lack of action taken against those who harass, injure or kill riders. "Cyclists care about each other. If one is hurt or injured, we all feel the loss," West said. "We want his family to know." It is his fourth ride to a cyclist's funeral, West said. His first was last September, he said. But, it's not just the deaths that bother him. "I have had trash thrown at me, cups of urine thrown at me and had people pat me on the butt while riding," Harris said. "I want to draw attention to the fact that we have the right to be on the road." West said many riders, himself included, use their bikes to commute to work and do errands. "People say use the trails, but we're not always riding just for pleasure," he said. "I shouldn't have to explain why I am here." He also said drivers aren't usually prosecuted when they hit cyclists. "They say they didn't see them and so it's an accident. That's bull****. If they strike the back of your car and kill someone, they'll be charged." West is wearing a black armband with the words "share the road" during his Atlantic ride. "I'm protesting that we have to battle to have a piece of the road," he said, adding the other cyclists will start sporting them also. He hopes to talk with Harris' family before returning to Des Moines. "I am glad he is coming to show his support," said LuAnn Ihnken, Harris' cousin. Harris died after being struck from behind by a car driven by Ross Kunze, 77, also of Atlantic, according to an Iowa State Patrol report. Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner said he has discussed the case with the State Patrol, but could not say if any charges would be filed against Kunze. Feistner said that decision should be made within a week or two. "It was an accident," Ihnken said. "I'm not sure what happened, but I don't have any animosity." Original News of David's Death Photo Details - Submitted photo - Kim West is biking from Des Moines to Atlantic today to attend the funeral of David Harris, who was killed Sunday while riding his bike. West is wearing a black “share the road” armband to show bikers’ rights.

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