Lake Havasu City motorists traveling along State Route 95 may soon see a new mural.
Meant to promote safe biking, honor fallen cyclists and beautify Havasu, the “Share the Road” bicycle mural is set to begin this spring as Havasu Area Public Art’s second project.
“HAPA’s mission is to make Lake Havasu beautiful and one of the ways that we know beautifies any city is to have murals and public art to enjoy…(and) in this particular case, what a great message we’re sending with public art, to remind motorists that there are bicyclists and we’d like this to be a bicycle friendly community,” said Cherie Mitchell, head of the organization’s art committee. “So we’re actually doing two services here, adding something beautiful to a building and putting out a message that is important.”
The new mural, anticipated for the southside of the Mesquit’s Janitorial Supplies building at 573 N. Lake Havasu Avenue, will feature a painted background of Havasu’s desert landscape, silhouettes of bicyclists made from metal and the words “Share the Road.” Local artist Jaque Meng has been commissioned to create the mural, which she designed, and HAPA has received a nod from the city, although it’s not required, stated the organization’s president, Dick Rounds.
HAPA is accepting donations for the mural’s creation, which is meant to remind motorists as their driving of fellow travelers and honor four bicyclists who lost their lives in vehicle-related accidents on Havasu roadways. Ken Stamm died March 2013, Sandy Alger died four months later after being stuck by a drunk driver and Larry Smith and Deborah Robison died in 2015 after being struck by a vehicle on SR 95.
“Ken and I rode together for many years, and Deb and Larry I rode with, especially Larry, about the same amount of time as Ken, so over ten years, and then Sandy was one of the customers at our shop,” said Ralph Bramlett, an employee at Havasu Bike and Fitness and avid bicyclist who presented the idea for a bicycle mural to HAPA. “I’m just really happy that (the mural) is going to come to fruition.”
To donate toward the new mural, contact Cherie Mitchell with Havasu Area Public Art at (928) 713-4487.
Like other Havasu cyclists, Bramlett would like to see the city to become more bike friendly.
“They’re just missing the boat on really nice bike lanes and paths, they’ve given up sweeping the streets to twice a year (and) that’s kind of a big deal for the road riders,” he said.
Craig Raney – owner of Havasu Bike and Fitness, coordinator of the Lake Havasu High School Mountain Bike Club and organizer of an annual memorial ride for fallen cyclists – would also like to see more bike lanes in Havasu, adding that some motorists are unwilling to share the road.
“We get people who yell at us, we get people who throw things at us, you know, after a while it just kind of wears on you,” he said. “Some people think it’s their road and they don’t want to share, I don’t know what it is, but I definitely think we need dedicated bike lanes.”
Raney was cited Jan. 13 on suspicion of criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct after allegedly shouting at occupants of a recreational vehicle and then throwing a rock at the vehicle. It reportedly came upon Raney and other bicyclists traveling on SR 95, and the occupants reportedly claimed to have attempted to go around the cyclists but that there was little room.
“We ride all the time out there and we get people that for no reason just kind of see how close they can get to us and that particular day I had two of my high school teammates riding with me…I almost feel like they’re my kids and when something like that happens I feel responsible, but I took it too far and totally regret what I did,” said Raney of the incident.