Balloon Release scheduled this Thursday for Bridget Ann Musser

Bridget Ann (Musser) Gakle was killed in traffic on September 1st as she was biking through downtown Topeka. Topeka Rescue Mission (TRM) and MAP (Mobile Access Partnership) have scheduled a balloon release in her honor, to occur this Thursday, September 15, at 12:00 p.m. at the MAP site at Topeka First United Methodist Church, 6th & Topeka Blvd.

Bridget was a cherished member of the TRM and MAP communities, and volunteers and staff at both organizations are devastated to hear of her passing. The Bike Topeka community offers its sincere condolences to her family and friends. Please attend the balloon release to show your support.

Bridget Ann Gakle, age 37, passed away Thursday, September 1, 2022 in Topeka. Bridget was born November 10, 1984 in Garden City, KS the daughter of Kenneth and Phyllis (Marks) Musser. She grew up in Ft. Scott before moving to Topeka. She had various jobs, the most recent at a pallet company. She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her sister, Sarah Musser of Topeka; four sons, Shaun Musser, Calliou Bennett, Christopher Harvey Jr. and Grady Harvey II and her uncle, William “Geno” Marx. Bridget had many friends and will be missed by many.

Next Steps

In future bicycle or pedestrian related crashes that involve death or serious injury (Heaven forbid that any happen, but if they do), Topeka Police Department (TPD) has offered to provide details to the City’s Complete Streets Advisory Committee or another appropriate group within the City. 

It’s important that we understand the potentially dangerous road designs or behaviors that we can work on as a community. Making that intentional step to share these crash details between law enforcement and the Complete Streets group or City Engineering can help bring Topeka closer to being a safe community for all. 

Again, please attend the balloon release this Thursday at noon at 6th & Topeka to show your support for Bridget and her family and friends. Here is a map link for the event.

Crash details

Warning: sensitive content

Police Chief Brian Wheeles has been in communication with members of the Complete Streets Advisory Committee about details of the crash. Bridget was riding northbound, downhill, on the eastern sidewalk along Kansas Avenue toward 4th Street around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 1st. It was a sunny day with clear skies, about 88 degrees. The driver of a Waste Management truck with a roll-off dumpster had been heading southbound on Kansas Avenue, and turned left (east) onto 4th Street. The driver never saw Bridget, and she did not have time to get out of the way of the truck. She hit the rear of the truck and may have gone under the wheels. The driver stopped the truck when he felt the impact, but did not suspect that he had hit anyone. TPD officers were able to pull video footage of the intersection to investigate the crash.

WIBW Story: Police identify bicyclist struck and killed in Downtown Topeka Thur. afternoon

Bridget’s Obituary: Bridget Ann Gakle of Topeka, Kansas | 1984 – 2022