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Ride of Silence honors Jonah Holland, a local cyclist killed by driver

A man arrives while holding a white bike
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
Brantley Tyndall leads a ghost bike during a Ride of Silence in honor of C. Jonah Holland on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Virginia Capital Trail in Henrico County, Virginia. Holland was killed on the morning of Aug. 13 as she was cycling on Osborne Turnpike in eastern Henrico County. She and Natalie Rainer, a friend, were struck by a motorist who authorities charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter.

Cyclists placed a roadside memorial for Holland along Osborne Turnpike.

More than 50 cyclists gathered at Rocketts Landing Wednesday evening to take part in the global Ride of Silence.

The event — part of RVA Bike Month — honors cyclists who’ve been injured or killed in car-related accidents.

David Randolph rode with Wolf Pack Alpha Cycling, a bike club that promotes inclusion for cyclists of color, to celebrate the life of Jonah Holland.

“We want to promote bike safety and awareness of cyclists, and then we want to do something to memorialize her — as always,” Randolph said.

Holland was killed by a driver on Osborne Turnpike in Henrico County last August while on a Saturday morning ride with her friend, Natalie Rainer.

A scar from an accident that killed her friend breks a tatttoo into two
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
Natalie Rainer takes a moment during a Ride of Silence in honor of C. Jonah Holland on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Virginia Capital Trail in Henrico County, Virginia. Holland was killed on the morning of Aug. 13 as she was cycling on Osborne Turnpike in eastern Henrico County. She and Natalie Rainer, a friend, were struck by a motorist who authorities charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter.

Holland, who often rode with the Wolf Pack, also worked as marketing coordinator for Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens for 14 years. She was part of the Richmond Area Bicycling Association, as well as the Richmond Tri-Club, a triathlon training group.

Many of the riders were there Wednesday to celebrate Holland, including her friend Connie Jackson.

“It has a different meaning today,” she said. “I’ve done this event many times before, but never has it ever hit so close to home.”

Jackson said after Holland’s death, she and the group of riders she cycles with are even more cautious out on the roads.

“We’re all as careful as we can be when we're riding, but it does make you more hyperaware,” she said. “Ultimately, there’s nothing that [Holland] could have done differently.”

Jackson and about a dozen others wore special cycling tops that Jackson designed to honor Holland. The blue jerseys had phrases like “Remember Jonah,” “Live for Jonah” and “Ride for Jonah" on them.

After leaving Rocketts Landing, the group headed out onto the Virginia Capital Trail. They stopped at a fork and followed Osborne Turnpike. That's where Brantley Tyndall, of Bike Walk RVA, met the group with a ghost bike — a bike painted entirely white from the back tire to the tips of the handlebars to honor a dead cyclist.

Tyndall, who rode his bike, gently guided the empty ghost bike alongside him and followed the group down Osborne to a spot near where Holland and Rainer were struck by the driver.

People gather and watch as a bike get installed onto a tree in honor of Jonah Holland
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
Brantley Tyndall installs a ghost bike with help Emily Monroe during a Ride of Silence in honor of C. Jonah Holland on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Virginia Capital Trail in Henrico County, Virginia. Holland was killed on the morning of Aug. 13 as she was cycling on Osborne Turnpike in eastern Henrico County. She and Natalie Rainer, a friend, were struck by a motorist who authorities charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter.

Rainer is still recovering from her injuries, and the Ride of Silence was her first time cycling down the section of Osborne since the accident. She said it felt good to be surrounded by the cycling community and that the event was a good way to honor her friend’s life.

“She's the type of person who would go to like every single group ride,” Rainer said. “She just loved being out, surrounded by friends and community. And so, this shared space together, I think is kind of a fitting memorial to her, just because I think she'd be happy to see us all out here together.”

The group stopped at a tree that a neighbor donated for Holland’s roadside memorial. Before Tyndall and Emily Monroe, another Bike Walk RVA member, secured the bike to it, Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson told the crowd that the county is doing everything it can to make cycling safer.

“Whether it’s from my own personal experiences or what has happened in different places across the county and across this country, one life lost is too many when it comes to cycling,” he said. “One accident is too many when it comes to cycling.”

Nelson said the county is committed to creating a transportation network where cyclists can feel at home. Henrico County, along with others in the region, recently received federal grant money under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plan street-safety improvements. County officials told VPM News in February that improvements under consideration include narrowing a number of roadways, sometimes called a “road diet,” by taking some of the extra pavement to provide new bike lanes and potentially pedestrian improvements.

The driver of the SUV that struck both Rainer and Holland has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. A trial is set for July 25.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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