Over 150 cyclists gather in Sussex in honour of Ellen Watters
Friends, family and fans of Ellen Watters gathered in Sussex, N.B., on Saturday to honour her memory and raise awareness of road safety.
Watters was a promising young cyclist just starting to make a name for herself in the world of competitive cycling. She died in December after being struck by a car on a training run near Sussex.
“It was just a complete tragedy,” says Molly Monahan, Watters’ friend. “I guess there is no other way to put it."
Monahan and Katie Scott were close friends with Watters. Since the accident, they've been organizing Saturday’s ride. It’s something they say Watters would have wanted.
“She would be bouncing around, laughing, screaming, she would be absolutely thrilled," says Scott.
“Through sports camps, swimming lessons, through the Civic Centre, (Ellen) was friends with everyone and she just inspired them to get outside be active.”
Three different distances were offered for the event. Participants could ride 100, 60 or 20 kilometres.
The province recently brought in Ellen's Law, which mandates drivers to give cyclists at least one metre of space when passing.
"It makes me a lot more aware as a driver, in particular, and I'm a lot more upfront about my thoughts and views about giving cyclists the proper amount of space," says cyclist Bill Lane.
With over 150 cyclists showing their support, organizers hope Ellen's Tour will become an annual event.
“We’re hoping to make a non-profit called Ellen's Cycling Society,” says Scott. "We're going to make a bursary for female athletes in the local area.”
Participants say they’ll continue to return in years to come, so long as they can still peddle.
“I'm proud to be here,” says participant Linda Homanick. “I’m just moved."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.