Ride for Kris: Look Twice, Save a Life - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ride for Kris: Look Twice, Save a Life


Every year, dozens of Iowans die in motorcycle crashes, and hundreds more are injured. One annual event in Eastern Iowa strives to change these statistics.

Saturday, hundreds of motorcyclists drove from Waterloo to Cedar Falls on the ABATE Motorcycle Awareness ride. The ride holds special meaning for a group of friends and colleagues of Kris Walters.

"I'm told that no matter what time this gets over, I have to be at the park at 1:00 for pictures because I'm getting married today," said Walters best friend, Justin Penwell.

It may not be the way most people would begin their wedding day, but it seems fitting for Walters' family and friends.

"I couldn't imagine starting my way any different today. Ride for Kris and then go marry the woman that I love..... It's going to be a good day," Penwell said.

The soggy weather added to the bittersweet mood as dozens of riders lined up at Mudd Advertising. Last month, Walters, a former Mudd employee, died in a motorcycle accident. Walters was only blocks from his Parkersburg home when a driver turned into his path.

"It seems like whenever somebody dies they always say -- he was the greatest guy in the world. Kris actually was," Penwell said. "He was a devoted husband, a loving father, and an amazing friend."

Walters' wife, Marie, helped pass out flags and bandanas bearing the message -- Look Twice, Save a Life. Her oldest son, Brecken, was at her side. She said he and her youngest boy, Berkley, are the reasons she's able to keep it together when emotions are this high.

"For me, there's no other option. I have a two year old and a 10 month old," she explained. "I don't understand how the option to break down would be there. It's not about me... it's about them."

Marie is not ready to ride, not yet anyway. But she was hoping her presence, and their message, will prevent a tragedy like the one her family has experienced from happening to another family.

"The split second that it takes for you to look can save a life, can save a dad, can save a husband," said Walters.

Nationally, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled since the late 1990s, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association. Only 20 states require all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Iowa is one of three states that does not have a helmet law.

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