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Donate to the Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund

March 30, 2012

What is the Dr. Bell Memorial Fund?

The Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund has been developed through a public/private partnership between local cyclists, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Lynchburg City, and Region 2000 Local Government Council (Region 2000 LGC) for the purpose of increasing bicycling awareness and safety in the Region 2000 area. 

Specifically, the donated contributions will be used to purchase “Share the Road” signs along highly-traveled roads frequented by area bicyclists to:

  • Increase awareness of motorist to be alert for and expect to see cyclists along roadways;
  • Remind area residents that bicycles are legal transportation vehicles permitted on roadways;
  • Promote safety for bicyclists and motorists;
  • Promote bicycling education for bicyclists and motorists.

The signs purchased through the Fund will be installed and maintained by VDOT or the City of Lynchburg.

 Who was Dr. John Bell?

The lives touched by John Bell float through families, friends, patients, and a town where he dedicated his best years.  Remarked for his fortitude and the highest ethical standards, John exuded the character of a hero.  While John was a devoted family man and thrived bettering the lives of patients, he also enjoyed dedicating modest free time to a favorite endeavor – cycling.  He took his love for the sport and found a way to help others by endorsing worthy events such as Lance Armstrong’s national cycling campaign, Live Strong.   John even helped sponsor and organize regional cycling events like the Storming of Thunder Ridge that promoted bike safety and fitness for children while challenging the most experienced cyclist in the region with rides and routes  through our  foothills and mountains.  

John’s love for cycling was contagious and he could be seen everywhere on a bike, often with the band of cyclists that became known as “Team Tortoise.”  John was the consummate coach and team champion for “Team Tortoise” and today his team and many devoted friends, in memory of his tragic death while cycling, are honored to work on behalf of John to promote safer cycling throughout Lynchburg and the region.  It is a fitting legacy for such a fine man. 

How will the funds be used?

Private, tax-deductible donated funds generated through the Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund will be used to purchase “Share the Road” signs.  All donated funds will be matched by in-kind contributions from VDOT and Lynchburg City towards labor, equipment, installation and maintenance of the “Share the Road” signs along designated road routes frequented by area cyclists (see route information below).

This is the first public/private partnership in the Lynchburg area dedicated to bicycle facilities and the promotion of bicycle safety, education, and outreach. 

A full summary of donated funds, number and location of “Share the Road” signs purchased and installed, and education initiatives, will be made available to all donors and the general public in early June, 2012.  We encourage you to frequent Region 2000 Local Government Council, Bikes Unlimited, or Blackwater Bike Shop websites to learn more about bicycle events, education, outreach, and development initiatives in the greater Lynchburg region. 

How can I Contribute to the Memorial Fund?

You can contribute a tax-deductible donation to the Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund by:

  1. Downloading  and completing the Dr. John Bell Memorial Donation Form 
  2. Sending the completed form, along with a check made payable to Region 2000 Local Government Council, to:

Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund
C/O Region 2000 LGC
828 Main Street, 12th Floor
Lynchburg, VA 24504

3.  Check , or cash, contribution can also be made directly at Blackwater Bike Shop or Bikes Unlimited.

Donation Details:
  • For tax purposes, a recognition notice will be provided to all Fund donors;
  • All donor contributions will be combined for the purpose of purchasing "Share the Road" signs to be installed along roads in the greater Lynchburg area;
  • All fund donors, at any contribution level, will be recognized in the Dr. Bell Memorial Fund Donor Summary which will be made public in June 2012; and
  • A $150 donor level will purchase one "Share the Road" sign.  At this donor level, a sign will be highlighted to denote this single level contribution within the Dr. Bell Memorial Fund Donor Summary.

Where will “Share the Road” signs be installed?

The following cycling loops are targeted for installation of “Share the Road” signs.  Loops are presented in order of implementation priority.  The extent to which these loops will be fully signed will be dependent on the amount of funds generated by May 31, 2012. 

Loop 1        Trents Ferry Loop (10.8 miles)
Loop 2        Coffee Road Loop (18.7 miles)
Loop 3a      Lawyers Road Loop (28.6 miles)
Loop 3b      Cifax Road Loop (23.8 miles)
Loop 4        River Road/130 Loop (43.2 miles)

Please click here  for share the Road Bicycle PDF Loop Map.

How were the roads to receive Share the Road signs determined?

Loops were identified by area cyclists, in partnership with VDOT, Lynchburg City, and Region 2000 LGC staff.  Loops include roads known to be heavily used by area cyclists and roads where motorist/cyclist conflict is most likely to take place.  

In addition all roads are identified in the Region 2000 Bicycle Plan, the region’s long-term vision plan for the creation of a comprehensive bicycle network that includes creating on-road and off-road bicycle connections to resources throughout Region 2000.

Why Share the Road Signs?

Use, design, and installation protocol for bicycle facilities is dictated by the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.   The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, is the document which defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public traffic.

“Share the Road” signs are installed along roads that are frequented by cyclists and motorists to promote awareness and safety.   It should be noted that a road installed with “Share the Road” signs does not necessarily signify that it  has additional cycling accommodations, such as bike lanes or wide outside shoulders.  Beginner cyclists should consider first riding a road with an experienced cyclist for guidance, or consult a local bike shop, cycling group or regional bicycling website for road characteristics and cycling conditions.

Tips of Bicycling Safely

Bicycles are transportation devices and therefore are permitted on roads, unless specifically stated otherwise.   Bicyclists should always ride with caution, obey all traffic laws, and follow these key Road Cycling Safety Best Practices.

Road Cycling Safety Best Practices

Cyclists should always follow these rules for a safe ride

  • Always wear an approved bicycle helmet;
  • Always obey all traffic signs and signals; use proper hand signals;
  • Always ride with the flow of traffic;
  • Never wear headphones;
  • Ride in a predictable manner that does not require other road users to react suddenly to your movements;
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright, light, or reflective clothing;
  • Always have reflective devices and lights on your bicycle for night cycling;
  • Ride defensively – anticipate the actions of other road users and watch for road hazards;
  • Walk your bicycle when you get into traffic situations beyond your cycling abilities;
  • Park your bicycle so you do not block sidewalks, handicap and building accesses, or emergency drives;
  • Never ride more than two abreast – THIS IS THE LAW

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Following too close behind other bicyclists;
  • Riding outside your cycling knowledge or physical capabilities;
  • Staying on the road when stopped; if you are not moving you should be off the road;
  • Not watching the road for hazards – drains, trash, low branches
  • Riding two or more abreast; if you are on a road with any measurable traffic you should be in single file.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on the Dr. John Bell Bicycling Awareness Memorial Fund or about bicycle plans in the area, contact Kelly Hitchcock at