Bike ride to honor U student

In memoriam of Josie Johnson, the molecular biology program will host a commemorative bicycle ride from campus to Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Johnson, a doctoral student in the program, was killed Sept. 18 when a car swerved and struck her as she rode her bike in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Bicyclers do not have to pay to participate in the Oct. 30 ride, and local donors have contributed enough to pay for bibs for those who do participate, according to John Weis, director of the combined program in molecular biology and organizer of the event.

“We’re doing this both to commemorate Josie and raise awareness for bicycle safety,” Weis said.

Johnson’s brother will speak at the mouth of the canyon and participants will hold a moment of silence to honor her.

To help with safety issues, Weis hopes that the mass of bicyclers will help Utah drivers be aware of safety issues.

“We want to try to show motorists that we can be law-abiding bicyclists and we hope that they would be cognizant of bicyclists and the safety of riders,” Weis said.

Weis has 1,000 bibs prepared, and he will also sell T-shirts for a minimum donation of $10 and jerseys for a minimum donation of $30. The money will go to the Josie Johnson memorial fund, which is overseen by the administration.

“The money will likely come back to the program and support Josie’s former research lab, which focused on diabetes,” he said. “Her parents have the ultimate decision on that, and they’re still mulling it over.”

While Weis hopes to raise funds, he wants to focus on remembering Johnson.

“This is in her honor, and it’s something I’d like to do on an annual basis,” he said.

Weis encourages participants to meet at the Steiner Aquatics Center parking lot at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 30 to get their bibs, and the ride starts at noon.

It will take about 3 hours round trip to complete the 25-mile route.

“It will be chilly, so riders should dress warm, but it won’t be 3 feet of snow,” Weis said.

For more information, and a map of the route, visit

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