Theres safety and strength in numbers. Thats our word, said Joe Anderson, president of the Polk County chapter of Georgia Rails into Trails Society.
People, especially females, need to use caution when walking along the road, Anderson said. Women need to have a companion and go in groups of two or more. Its a sad situation, but thats the nature of our society.
Jennifer Ewing, a Sandy Springs mother of three, was found dead on July 26 just off a section of the trail near Marietta. Michael William Ledford, 43, of Douglasville, has been charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with the killing.
Pam Norton, a Yorkville resident who bikes along the Coots Lake section of the trail in Rockmart, said the death has changed how she feels about the trail.
This was my release, she said. Now it just seems different, not as pleasant.
Since her daughter Jessica has been home from school at Kennesaw State University, the two have been exercising together on the trail. Norton said she normally rides her bike far ahead of her daughter, who prefers to walk.
Now Im apprehensive to go off and leave her, she said, concerned over the prospect of copycat crimes.
Norton said her husband recently bought a bike and offered to accompany her. She suspects the Ewing murder had something to do with his newfound cycling interest.
For more on this story, see Mondays Rome News-Tribune