CLEVELAND -- Hundreds of bicycle riders took to the streets of Cleveland to promote fun and safety just days after a woman was struck by a hit and run driver.
The cyclists left Public Square on two wheels Friday evening, riding bicycles of all shapes, sizes and colors.
"I think it's a wonderful way to get around. It's earth-friendly, it's free and it promotes health," said Leigh Culbertson.
A growing number of riders gather on the last Friday of each month to promote bikes as fun, healthy alternatives to driving.
"I don't see any reason why you shouldn't have just as much safety when you're riding a bike as if you're driving a car," said James O’Malley.
On Friday evening, safety was an even bigger concern. Last weekend, Elizabeth Deering, 30, of Lakewood was biking along Clifton Boulevard in Cleveland. She was about to turn left onto West Boulevard when a car struck her and kept going.
"Liz is doing well. She just got released from the hospital a day or two ago and she met up with a bunch of friends at Sweet Moses last night. She looked in good spirits, she's just really broken up and sore, really sore," said Nikki Maphis.
A friend made bracelets for some of Liz's friends to wear during their ride. These cyclists say safety is always a top priority for them and should be for drivers, too.
"I have all the lights, I have the lights down here, the lights up here, the light flashes back here, and I try to stay over to the side so I don't get hit by a car," said Luther Parker, explaining the features of his bike.
"On my way here, I almost got hit by a woman texting while she was driving in her van and turning into me, so yeah, I think it's important for people to realize that there's bikers on the road and they need to watch out for them," said Culbertson.
"I think cycling is unfairly painted as a special interest group when in reality everyone knows how to ride a bike and everyone could just as easily benefit from being able to make trips of less than five miles without spending any money on gas and without paying for parking, and so having better cycling infrastructure benefits everyone," said Austin Kotting.
The monthly ride is organized by the group Critical Mass.
Cleveland police are still looking for the driver who hit Deering. They say the car is a 1990s-style gold four-door sedan with damage to the front or passenger side.