The bicycling community is today mourning the loss of one of its most loved and respected advocates.
Iris Stagner, a member of the BikeTexas Board of Directors and a longtime promoter of bike safety and education, was killed on Monday after being hit by a pickup truck while riding on U.S. Route 180 outside Mineral Wells, Texas.
Everyone at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy sends our sincerest condolences to Iris' family and friends, her colleagues at BikeTexas, and the many people she helped during her life as a passionate citizen.
"Iris has been a tireless volunteer and champion for Texas cyclists of all types and ages," says Executive Director of BikeTexas, Robin Stallings. "Iris believed in giving back and wanted to see more racers engaged in bicycle advocacy and making conditions safer for the current and next generation. Her death is a terrible loss to Texas and the cycling community."
Friends of Iris will gather for a memorial ride before her funeral, today, Friday, September 21, in Mineral Wells. The five-mile ride will start from the parking lot of the Palo Pinto General Hospital, 400 SW 25th Avenue. If you would like to join the ride, please plan to be at the parking lot at 12:30 p.m.
Iris' legacy remains in the strategies and legislation she developed to make conditions safer for riders in Texas.
"She loved the bicycle trail in Mineral Wells and the protected bikeways that are catching on around the world, but she could not resist the beautiful, open Texas roads," Stallings says. "Iris believed the roads exist for all users and we should exercise our rights as Americans to use them. She had been harassed and threatened while cycling by aggressive drivers many times over the years but she would not be intimidated."
"Iris knew she was a safe and skilled bicycle rider and did not take unnecessary chances. She also said, 'If I die while riding my bike, then I will go out doing what I love.' Iris knew that the more bicyclists there are in a community, the safer it is for all of them. Unfortunately for all of us, Iris Stagner, age 54, died about 50 years too soon."